Eating good food is one of the pleasures of life, and the island of Ibiza delivers. The Mediterranean is known for providing the best organic and local ingredients, such as olive oil, wine, fresh fish, various vegetables, and the list just keeps going. With that kind of selection, it stands to reason that cooking has evolved into an art form, with recipes passed down through the generations supported by traditions and the abundant offer of the land. New and creative ways to reinvent the tried and true recipes of old are being tested every day.
One of the most beloved traditional recipes you´ll find on the island is the “bullit de peix”. Very popular in Ibizan gastronomy, as well as in Formentera. This fish stew is ever-present in most restaurants in the Balearic island, usually accompanied by a rice dish.
A delicacy from the sea
The “bullit de peix” was introduced in local gastronomy by fishermen when the catch of the day didn´t manage to sell properly. The remaining fish was used to make a stew with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, garlic, bay leaves, saffron, olive oil and salt. The fish is then coupled with “arroz a banda” (a dish of rice cooked in fish stock), with a touch of alioli sauce on top just for that added touch of flavour that makes this dish a unique experience specific to the Balearic Islands.
“Arroz a banda” made with the broth of the “bullit de peix”.
Nowadays, if we want to make this typical dish from Ibiza or if we try it in one of the local restaurants that offer specialities of Ibizan gastronomy, we will see that the types of fish vary. In general, types of rockfish are used, such as ray fish, the grouper fish, roosterfish, etc.; and there are those who also use lobster or prawns. Each household has their favourite, the same can be said about the chefs that source local produce for their interpretation of the dish. The important step is to properly fry the ingredients and cook them so that the broth absorbs all the beautiful flavours for later use.
Start with the fish, end with the rice
The” bullit de peix” is the type of dish that can be made each and any way, it allows personalization, but the presentation is another story. According to locals, when eating this delicious dish, tradition demands it to be served on a tray and in a specific order. You start with the fish and then move on to the boiled potatoes and aioli sauce. Next comes the rice, “arroz a banda”, and Bon Appetit! Make sure to control your portions so you have enough room to enjoy every part of the experience.
Everything tastes better by the sea
Any typical dish of Ibizan gastronomy comes from the sea. And on the island, the sea is an integral part of any typically Ibizan experience, the salty and fresh sea smell is an integral part of the island life. There are dozens of restaurants near the beach where they serve bullit de peix several days a week, and some even have it on their menu all the time. It is advisable to make a reservation in advance and indicate the intention to eat bullit de peix to ensure availability. Furthermore, in inland areas such as Santa Gertrudis, you will also find restaurants in the middle of the Ibizan countryside and with views that, despite not bringing a sea breeze, will transport you to a state of relaxation that only nature can provide.