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Encosta Cabo Girão

Cabo Girão, Madeira

Taste this Madeiran delicacy

Posted by Luci Ackers on Sep 27, 2017
Taste this Madeiran delicacy

All across the island of Madeira, fishermen head out looking for a special kind of fish that is particularly popular in Spain, Portugal and, of course, Madeira itself.

The black scabbardfish is dark in colour, long and slender (hence it’s descriptive name), and really resembles an eel more than a fish. They can be found throughout the Atlantic Ocean, often starting life in the waters off the Madeira Islands and the Canary Islands, migrating north to feed and grow before moving back down again upon reaching maturity.

Their dark colour and the depth at which they swim makes them a tricky catch. But at night time they tend to swim closer to the surface. So the fishermen of Madeira head down to the waters after dark.

The scabbards that you’ll see in the fresh fish markets and in the shops are inky black in colour. Some say that it’s the pressure the fish endure when they are hauled to the surface that darkens their already dark skin.

How to eat them

One very traditional dish that is worth a try when you’re on the island is scabbard and banana. Though it may sound a little strange, this freshly-cooked, local dish is pretty popular!

Battering the fish adds a little bit of crunch to your dish. Once cut into fillets you should season the fish with garlic, lemon and pepper to taste. Roll in flour and then dip in egg yolk for the batter (you could even cover with breadcrumbs too if you fancy). Fry the covered fish pieces in a pan of oil and butter. Once cooked, drain the remaining oil and fry slices of banana. 

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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.


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