Pepitos valencianos are typical at Easter and enjoying them with family and friends is a true delight. Don’t miss out on our recipe!
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Pepito valenciano: what is it?
You are bound to have ordered a ‘pepito de ternera’ at some point in your life. In other words, two slices of French bread with grilled beef steak in the middle. Well, it turns out that it has a sibling which is much loved in the Valencian Community, although the only thing they have in common is their name.
They are known as pepito, ximo or ximet, depending on the area or region, and they are usually eaten at Easter because they don’t contain meat. Indeed, as it is an essential Valencian lunch, you can find it all year round. The diminutive of its name (‘ito’ denotes something small in Spanish) is due to the size of the pepito, a small bread roll. But there is a reason for everything, and it’s because it is fried.
Torrijas or French toast may be one of the most typical Easter recipes, but in the regions of Valencia, the pepito sandwich is the ideal lunch, coming out on top of popular Easter sweets.
One of the many virtues of pepitos is their versatility, since you can fill them with whatever you like. You can make your own version of chicken pepito, or beef, with pepper or without pepper, with hard-boiled egg and even with olives if you prefer. It is true that the Valencian pepito recipe presents titaina (similar to ratatouille) as the main element, and it is precisely the absence of meat in the Valencian recipe that makes it so popular during Lent compared to any other time of year. But don’t worry, because you can find them all year round and they are the perfect snack for any time of day thanks to their deliciousness. They are generally eaten cold, given that they can be kept in the fridge or an airtight container so you can take them with you anywhere.
Preparation of pepitos valencianos
Ingredients (for 6 pepitos):
- 2 sautéed onions
- 3 tins tuna in olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons tomato passata
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 6 bread rolls
- 500 ml milk
- 4 eggs for coating
- Plenty of mild olive oil for frying
1. Hard boil the eggs for 10 minutes on a medium heat. Leave them to cool quickly and peel. Chop them finely. Mix the sautéed onion with the tinned tuna, tomato passata and hard-boiled egg and season to taste. This would be the time to add the pine nuts too.
2. With the help of a knife, open up the bread rolls on one side and remove as much of the bread from inside as possible. Patiently fill the bread rolls with the tuna mixture until they “explode”. They have to be abundantly full. Close the hole with part of the bread we had taken out earlier so none of the tuna mixture is on the outside.
3. Take a bowl with plenty of milk and another one with whisked eggs. Dip each bread roll in the milk, on both sides, until you can see that the bread is well soaked and soft. Then, dip into the egg until it is covered all over.
4. Fry the pepitos in plenty of hot oil. Turn them over so they brown on all sides. Remove the pepitos using a slotted spoon and kitchen paper. You can eat them hot or cold, stuffed pepitos are delicious however you eat them!