Peix Sec de Formentera
According to the traditional method, local fish varieties of skate are dried in the sun and wind, hanged to the local tree called ‘sabina’ (Juniperus phoenicea turbinata).More particularly, the fish varieties used are the so-called “Ratjada”(raja asterias, raja clavata, raja undulata) and “Clavell” (raja fullonica, raja miraletus) The traditional fishing methods used are long lines and nets. The hooks on the long lines are quite large in order to capture only the larger species. Octopus is used as bait. The fish caught with nets can be of various size, the smaller are thrown still alive in the sea to maintain the fish stocks. The fishing places are alternated to enable them to be repopulated in a natural way, making this a selective and sustainable fishing technique. The traditional Balearic Islands small wooden boat, ‘llaut de fusta”, is used and fishing is carried out all year long. To prepare Formentera dried fish, the big fishes are separated and, still in the boat, are immediately prepared. When the boat arrives, the fish are billed to the fishermen organization and are frozen for about 48 hours to prevent Anisakis contamination. Then they are thawed and placed in “sal morra”, a solution of water and salt where they remain for a certain period of time. The salt comes from the salines of Ibiza, as the ones of Formentera are being closed. Then, the pieces of fish are intertwined with dried branches of Sabina (the local tree) and naturally dried in the sun and wind. The process lasts from three to seven days. Once dried, the fish is taken to the workshop to roast on a plate. Next, they are beaten with a wooden mallet to separate the fibers and they are transforming them into small pieces, discarding the skin and the larger cartilage (the finest cartilage are left). When the process is finished, the pieces are put into glass jars. The use of dried fish is very common throughout the year for the preparation of some of the most typical and traditional dishes of local gastronomy. One example is the ‘ensalada pagesa’ or peasant salad that is prepared with the fish, tomato, pepper and dry bread or ‘pancuit’. It is also the basis of the ‘peix sec’ stew and of different rice preparations.