El raor: A gastronomic "jewel" in the Balearic Islands

Its fishing season ends on August 31. Depending on its age, it usually lives at a depth of 45 to 50 meters, sometimes burying itself in the sandy seabed. It is one of the most valued fish in recreational fishing, precisely because it is so difficult to catch. Its exceptional flavor makes the Raor a gastronomic "jewel" in the Balearic Islands. Here are some culinary tips.

The name raor (Xyrichthys novacula), as this exquisite fish is known in the Balearic Islands, comes from the shape of its body, which resembles that of a razor (in Spanish lorito or galán). This fish is found in the warm waters of the Mediterranean. In the Balearic Islands they are protected by a closed season that lasts from 1 April to 31 August. Thus, from 1 September, when the closed season ends, 50 fish may be caught per licence per day. With a maximum of 300 units per boat, its fishing is mainly recreational.

In the 16th century, the renowned French doctor and naturalist Guillaume Rondelet became famous for his work and studies on fish. Curiously, he makes a reference to the raor or razor fish, commenting that it lives on the islands of Mallorca and Menorca, recognising the value that its inhabitants gave to this fish for its flavour and bright colours.

One of the characteristics of the raor, of this gastronomic "jewel", is its bright colours. Moreover, when they become adults, which usually measure between 10 and 20 cm in length, they change from being females to males.

Raor frito, a gastronomic "jewel" on the Balearic Islands
Fried raor: a gastronomic "jewel" in the Balearic Islands

Our gastronomic tip:

Fried raor:

When we cook this fish, we have to take advantage of all the flavour it brings us, so first we have to clean the inside of the fish, leaving the scales. If possible, clean them with sea water, so that they retain all their flavour.

The second important point is to have the optimum amount of salt and to have a pan of very hot, mild olive oil. Fry the raors dry, without flour: the fish "as is".

To enjoy this delicacy to the full, it is very important to find the right point of frying, so that the skin will be very crispy and the meat very juicy.

A great product, enjoy it!

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