Thursday, December 27, 2012

Menidia shmenidia, you eat them!

Wind back to the mid-80s. It is a lovely September evening in Barcelona, and I am peckish. Not hungry, just peckish, for I have had several days of gourmet living. So I pop into a Catalan restaurant called Can Chicoa and scan the menu for something simple. "Truita" sounds about right - it means omelette in Catalan. I go down the list, understanding most things till I get to "Truita amb xanguetes". No idea what xanguetes are, so I order it adventurously.
When I open it up, a sight meets my eyes that can still haunt me in the wee cow'ring hours. Xanguete is a tiny tiny fish, so tiny that the omelette was packed tight with them. Scores of them. When cooked, they become translucent and this serves to accentuate their little jet-black eyes. Imagine: dozens of pairs of pretty black eyes looking up at you pleadingly from the plate. The omelette was okay, but I hadn't the heart - or the stomach - to eat the poor wee cow'ring timourous beasties.
I believe xanguetes are, or are related to, a fish called "silverside", Menidia menidia. Long may they thrive, bless them, but not on my plate.

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