By Lisa on Feb 08, 2013 with Comments 7
If you are visiting Mallorca, Frito Mallorquin is one dish that you just can’t leave without trying: it uses all typical ingredients and is very very tasty.
I’m normally the one who promotes the “have a go” attitude but with Frito Mallorquin I’m going to say if you don’t know how to make it then don’t bother trying. It’s something that the locals are born with; you can’t learn it.
If you don’t know what you are doing then you will mess it up. So the best thing to do is to find a Mallorcan abuela (granny) to make it for you. In my case, it’s a Mallorcan aunt who I turn to for my frito needs; my (local) boyfriend’s Auntie Cati. She makes the best Frito Mallorquin for miles around and the best thing is she has a huge family so she is used to making loads of extra!
What is Frito Mallorquin?
Frito Mallorquin is a dish that is believed to have originated in Mallorca in the 14th century during the Arab domination. It is a filling dish which uses cheap and readily available ingredients, so it is said to have been eaten by the peasants as a treat. Nowadays it is eaten by everybody as a treat.
Frito Mallorquin is a greasy dish which could certainly fall into the category of “comfort food”. It can be eaten as a starter but is often served as the main dish among families. It is eaten morning noon and night, not like paella, for example, which is eaten at lunch time only.
The dish consists of potatoes, red pepper, sometimes artichokes, sometimes peas, fennel tops, olive oil, chilli, garlic, sometimes black pudding, and the main ingredient is offal – normally just liver but often kidneys too. The liver used can be from lamb or from pig and is often a product of the matanzas (slaughter).
If you are not a fan of liver then you might prefer Frito de Matanzas which uses pieces of pork loin instead of offal. Or Frito Marinero which uses seafood (see the photo at the top of this page courtesy of Click-Mallorca).
The potatoes and meat are chopped into small pieces of the same size and fried together in the olive oil with the other ingredients sprinkled in to add flavour.
Where to Eat Frito
If you don’t have a Mallorcan abuela handy there are many great restaurants that offer frito. Perhaps you already know some yourself and can recommend them in the comments.
I can give you a few names of my own favourite restaurants but that won’t help you if you are at the other side of the island to my home town. So here’s a rule to follow: all restaurants that offer great frito will have something in common: they will be popular with the locals. So if you are planning to eat frito and you are in an area that you don’t know, simply ask a local.
Restaurants that offer great frito often have a Mallorcan granny in the kitchen. They are normally busy and you might have to wait for a table. And you will normally find reasonable prices and large portions.
As you know, all the towns and villages of Mallorca have something that they are a little bit famous for; olives from Caimari, furniture from Manacor, wine from Binissalem, etc. The town that is famous for Frito Mallorquin is Sineu. If you go to Sineu, most of the bars and restaurants around the main square are local and most of them offer frito. Just take a look around and go in the one you fancy most.
My own personal favourite restaurants for Frito Mallorquin in Alcudia where I live are Can Costa in the old town and S’Alhambra in the port. Both offer a nice atmosphere, Mallorcan and Spanish cooking and very economical prices.
How about you? What’s your favourite place to eat frito?
If you Really Must Try to Make it Yourself…
Here is a recipe for those who insist on trying to do it. But do yourself a favour first: try a few portions of Real Frito Mallorquin made by a real Mallorcan abuela first so that you know what it is that you are trying to achieve.
You will need:
- 1 lamb liver
- 1 kilo of potatoes
- 1 medium onion (personally I prefer leek or spring onion)
- 3 artichoke hearts
- 1 red pepper
- plenty of olive oil
- fennel tops
- six garlic cloves
- 2 fresh chilli peppers
Dice all your vegetables and the liver into small pieces. Cut the pieces of onion and red pepper a bit smaller than the other vegetables. Leave the garlic cloves whole or cut them in half if they are large.
In a Mallorcan greixonera or a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat and saute first of all the potatoes and garlic with a sprinkling of salt. Once the potatoes have softened and have achieved a slightly golden colour add everything except the fennel tops and fry for 20 minutes over a medium heat until cooked through.
For the last two minutes add the fennel and season to taste.
You can make your frito as spicy as you wish by adding more or less chilli pepper. A lot of Mallorcan people don’t like their dishes too spicy but typically it is a spicy dish.
Serve hot and enjoy!
Let me know how it went.
Mallorca’s gastronomy is this month’s Destination of the Month.
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About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....