Within the gastronomy of the Canary Islands it is common to consume pejín as a complementary dish or tapa that is usually accompanied by local wine. Pejín is consumed in La Gomera, Tenerife, Fuerteventura and the rest of the islands, and is a typical Canarian dish that cannot be missed in restaurants in coastal areas.
What is pejin
The pejín is a small fish, like the longorón or guelde, which is served in the Canary Islands dry and salted to eat as a starter or tapa. The consumption of pejín in the Canary Islands is usually associated with wine, as its characteristics make it an ideal complement to enjoy the famous Canarian wines. Pejines are also known as gueldes or fried longorones.
Pejines are small fish, so many people may believe that young fish that have not yet developed are being used, a practice that is forbidden and goes against the protection of the seas. Pejines, however, are adult fish, but they are not large, so their consumption is completely legal.
How to prepare pejines in the Canary Islands
To prepare the pejín in Tenerife and the rest of the islands, a very simple process is followed to achieve a good consistency and taste in the fish. The steps to be taken to prepare the pejines correctly are
Cleaning of fish
The first step is to correctly clean the guelds to remove the guts and leave the fish ready for processing. This process is very important to be able to offer a final quality product.
The selection of the fish is not important as the pejines are similar in size and it is not important that some are larger than others.
Salt the pejines
It is important to salt the gueldes after cleaning them. This process will bring part of the flavor to this dish with a salty touch that invites to be accompanied by a good wine.
Passing through flour
The salted pejines must pass through flour, for which a deep dish is used where the gueldes are mixed with the flour. This process is the previous step to frying and must be done so that each guelde is well covered with flour (you can remove the excess by passing it through a sieve and tapping).
In this recipe for Canarian pejines, no eggs are used prior to the flour process, thus achieving a drier product.
Frying the pejines
The final step is to fry the pejines. The usual is to use plenty of olive oil which should be at a high temperature. The pejines are put in the hot oil for a few minutes until they acquire a golden colour, which indicates that they are well fried. In this process, the temperature of the oil must be careful because if it is too high, they can burn, and if it is too low, they will not be crispy enough.
After taking them out of the pan they should be drained on absorbent paper to lose the excess oil. Finally, add a squeeze of lemon and they are ready to be served.
As we have seen, the process to prepare pejines in the Canary Islands is very fast and simple. The necessary ingredients are basic, including gueldes, flour, salt, oil and lemon. In just 10 minutes you can prepare a good dish of pejines to enjoy the fabulous taste of this small fish prepared in this peculiar way.
How to eat the pejines
This typical Canarian dish can be eaten alone or accompanied, but the most characteristic thing is that it is accompanied by a good local wine.
Some common ways of consuming pejines in the Canary Islands are
Plate of pejines and half a quarter of wine
It may be one of the most used phrases in typical Canarian restaurants, "give me a plate of pejines and half a quarter of wine". Pejines are usually eaten as a starter or tapas, always accompanied by a good Canarian wine and shared among several diners.
It should be noted that it is common to consume the pejines directly with the hands, without the use of a fork. Many times the fish are so small that they can be eaten in one bite.
Served with mojo and wrinkled potatoes
The pejines are also served with wrinkled potatoes typical of the Canary Islands, and with mojo picón (a spicy sauce) in order to wet them before consumption. Eating pejines with potatoes and mojo is a real delicacy that every visitor to the islands should try.
There are many gastronomic delights on offer in the Canary Islands. As they are surrounded by the sea, it is normal to find some related product among them, such as pejines. This typical Canarian dish of salted fish battered in flour and fried is usually eaten as a starter or tapa, always accompanied by local wine.
Photos: africamar.com, canariasgourmet.es, sendaecoway.com, canariasconfidencial.com, quotidianocanarie.com.