All i pebre, typical Valencian dish
El all i pebre is a typical Valencian dish based on eel and potato. A traditional dish born on the banks of the Albufera capable of competing with the paella that we can prepare at home. We explain step by step the traditional recipe of all i pebre.
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Garlic and paprika. That is the literal meaning of all i pebre, and although this dish can be cooked with fish such as monkfish, hake or octopus, the most popular variant is eel. If you are in Valencia, the typical all i pebre is the one made with this fish.
Just 10 kilometers from Valencia is Catarroja, an inland town that nevertheless has a port located on the shores of the lagoon of the Albufera. This fresh water port is precisely where the recipe for all i pebre originated, a humble dish that has its roots in the popular cuisine of the people of the area. Years ago, the eel was abundant in the Albufera and Catarroja fishermen began to use it in their recipes. In times when meat was reserved for the wealthy classes, families stocked up on what they had most at hand, mainly produce from the garden and the sea.
Nowadays, fishing for wild eels in the Albufera is becoming more and more difficult. Pollution and water shortages have been threatening the survival of this snake-shaped gelatinous fish for years. A century ago, tons were taken but today only a few kilos are caught, so to prepare all i pebre eels are used farmed.
The all i pebre must not remain liquid, but the sauce must be locked, to be able to wet bread
How to do all i pebre
To prepare the all i pebre is usually used an earthenware bowl or an iron casserole. The preparation is simple, you just need a little patience because the fish is delicate and melts easily. The result is an unctuous dish (perfect for dipping bread) with an intense flavour provided by the paprika and a peculiar texture thanks to the fish.
Recipe of all i pebre
-1 kilo of eels
-1 glass of olive oil
-2 heads of garlic
-1 tablespoon paprika
-1-2 chilli peppers (depending on how spicy you want)
- Heat the oil and fry the crushed garlic and chilli pepper.
- Add the paprika and immediately a little water so that the condiment does not burn.
- Add the potatoes, which we will have previously cut by snapping them to release the starch, and the eels and add more water without completely covering the eels.
- Cover the casserole and put it on high heat, about 20 or 25 minutes after the broth begins to boil.
- We add the salt at the end and taste the broth to correct for spiciness.
The all i pebre must not remain liquid, but the sauce must be locked, to be able to wet bread. This is achieved largely by the skin of the fish which is very gelatinous. The original recipe does not allow crushed almonds or bread to thicken. Bon appétit!