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Cazon en Adobo | Marinated fried Dogfish

Another name for cazon en adobo is “bienmesabe,” which translates to “tastes good to me.” That should tell you most of what you need to know about this popular tapa originating in the coastal areas of Andalucia. It’s addictive, good snacking food, for a hot day with a cold beer. If you don’t mind frying, it’s super easy to make at home, too.

Cazon is a type of shark, most commonly called “dogfish” where I live in California. It has dense, meaty flesh, and no bones. Often, when cazon isn’t available, people substitute monkfish, and I’ve found swordfish also works really well. You can experiment with what is available, but you want a very meaty fish, where you can cut big thick cubes, and not have any bones to deal with.

Adobo, in this case refers to the marinade. The fish is marinated for hours, and by many people, overnight, in a strongly flavored mix of spices, herbs, and vinegar. I like to use sherry vinegar, though some people prefer white wine vinegar. Rosa’s mom always uses lemon juice instead of vinegar. The spice mixes vary, though the most common ingredients are Pimentón de la Vera and ground cumin. Some people insist on parsley, others on oregano. You can let your taste guide you. The important part is that the marinade be pretty acidic. That pleasant sourness penetrates the fish and comes through in the finished product. You will notice that the marinade is cut with water, so it is less acidic than the straight vinegar. If you used straight vinegar without the water, the fish would be thoroughly “cooked” like a ceviche by the time it was done marinating.

Cazon en Adobo is really happy, hot weather food. Serve it with cold beer and an interesting salad.


1½ lbs Dogfish, monkfish, or swordfish, skinned and boned, cut into 1 - 1½” cubes

For Marinade

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp ground cumin

2 bay leaves

5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

½ tsp Pimentón de la Vera (dulce or picante)

Salt and black pepper TT

2Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ cup sherry vinegar (use white wine vinegar, if you prefer)

½ cup cold water

To fry

Flour for dredging

Salt TT

Oil for frying

To serve

Lemon wedges, if desired

1. Toss the fish with the dry marinade ingredients, to coat evenly. Mix in the olive oil, then pour the vinegar and water in. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours, and as long as overnight.

2. Drain the fish well, being sure to get all of the liquid out. Put a scoop of flour in a bowl, and season it with salt. Take a handful of the marinated fish, and coat the pieces thoroughly in the flour. Shake off excess flour, then deep fry the fish in oil that has been preheated to 350F.

Note: try to leave behind the pieces of garlic. If they stick to the fish, they will burn in the fryer.

Fry until the breading is lightly browned and crispy. Sprinkle with a little salt as the fish comes out of the fryer.

Serve immediately, garnished with the lemon wedges.

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