5 essential Ibiza dishes to try in Sant Antoni
Ibiza is an island rich in natural resources. The surrounding sea has a diverse range of controlled fisheries; fertile fields provide the base for growing agricultural and livestock holdings whose success comes from the quality of their products; and the culinary know-how of the local residents can draw on a tradition dating back hundreds of years, with the wisdom to get the most out of the regional produce.
The result is simple cuisine packed with flavour in every ingredient, honest and top-quality fare allowing diners to enjoy a gratifying experience in each and every one of its formulae.
Among the catalogue of traditional Ibiza dishes, a group can be highlighted as representative of the overall essence. Five gastronomic treasures to delight visitors to Sant Antoni.
El bullit de peix
El bullit de peix (fish stew). Based on the recipe that fishermen cooked on their fishing boats after a hard day’s work, the bullit de peix is a delicious fish stew with potatoes covered in a garlic mayonnaise sauce. The stock is then used for a second course of seafood rice (arroz a banda). This is a double culinary experience. The stock uses different rock fish, adding a strong flavour, and there are usually 2 or 3 types of main fish, such as the red scorpionfish, grouper, John Dory, anglerfish, white seabream or amberjack. The other ingredients are Ibiza potatoes and green beans. It’s served on a tray and seasoned with a light garlic mayonnaise sauce. The arroz a banda is the final part of the meal and is made with the leftover stock. Delicious!
El arroz de matanzas
Arroz de matanza (Pork Stew with Rice). In times gone by, pork was a special dish for farmers in Ibiza. The day of slaughter was one of the most important days of the year and the whole family got together to savour the animal’s finest cuts. Traditional Ibiza sausages and cold meats were made, such as sobrassada or botifarra (a type of sausage), and large quantities of high-quality meat were stored. To accompany this day of hard, intense work, a rice dish was cooked. This is a staple for Ibiza winters: arroz de matanza (Pork Stew with Rice). A filling dish with a wide range of products from land and sea, which blend together perfectly: fresh pork meat (ribs, sirloin and loin), mushrooms, local chicken and cuttlefish. The other ingredients, such as tomato, green pepper, onion, garlic, saffron, parsley and olive oil are the basis for the sauce and dressing.
Sobrassada. A classic Ibiza cold meat and perhaps the best-known pork product. Ibiza Sobrassada, unlike the variant from Majorca, is finer quality. Made from leaner pork, which is chopped, seasoned and marinated, with variable curing periods that do not exceed a year. The island’s humidity prevents traditional cold meat curing, which may be possible on the mainland or in the high mountains. However, this same variable makes the sobrassada flavour very different while maintaining a bland, smooth texture, perfect for spreading or toasting.
Sofrit pagès (meat stew). This is another centrepiece in Ibiza cuisine. Made using lamb and chicken meat, accompanied with sobrassada, botifarra sausage, potatoes and peppers, as well as onion, tomato, garlic and parsley. We start with the meat stock, pork fat and chopped garlic and parsley, then the other ingredients are added and seasoned with saffron, paprika and extra spices.
And to wrap things up, something sweet: flaón. This fresh cheese (preferably goat’s cheese) and peppermint cake is another classic of Ibiza cuisine. The crunchy base gives way to a sweeter, more aromatic texture in the centre, with hints of anise and peppermint. The toasted top layer is decorated with sugar and mint leaves. A sweet temptation.