Venezuelan Pescado Frito (Fried Fish)

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If you ever go to a Venezuelan beach — just look at Los Roques — you won’t escape a big plate with pescado frito, patacones and coleslaw.

Eating pescado frito during a beach visit is key to the fullest Venezuelan beach experience.

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What type of fish to use for “pescado frito”?

In Venezuela, we use mainly three types of fish for this recipe:

  • Mero (Grouper): It has a slightly sweet taste and small flakes. It has a nice skin that creates a great crust when fried.
  • Pargo (snapper fish): This is my absolute favorite. Sadly, it’s a bit hard to get in regular supermarkets here in Portugal. It’s incredibly delicate meat with a firm texture that makes it perfect to fry because it won’t crumble in the process.
  • Dorada (Sea bream): It’s the fish that I can find easily among the three. It has delicate meat and slightly sweet and nutty flavor.

I definitely don’t recommend Tilapia (even when it’s inexpensive and easy to find). It’s too dry and rubbish and the result it’s not that great. Tilapia often requires a lot of seasoning to shine and this recipe only uses salt and lime juice.

In the end, a good pescado frito is all about the fish flavor and not the seasoning.

Besides the right type of fish, another important thing is the freshness. Not even snapper fish can taste good when it’s not fresh.

Tips to buy fresh fish

“Eyes are the window to the soul”… well, in this case, they are the first clue to tell if a fish is fresh enough to buy it.

The clearer and shinier the eye, the fresher the fish. This is the golden rule when buying fish. If the eyes are gray and dull it’s better to pass that fish.

The second thing is the smell. A fresh fish must smell like clean water or even cucumbers. The fishy smell it’s an indication that it’s not that fresh.

This is the “secret” behind the odorless Japanese sushi. They use only fresh fish that they buy the same day the sushi is made.

Finally, a gentle touch to the fish will tell you about the freshness too. The fish must be firm enough. A soft spot may mean a bad part in the fish.

What type of batter is used for pescado frito?

To fry the fish you don’t need a batter as you would need in most fried recipes. Because you are frying the fish with its skin, you already have enough support that won’t allow the fish to crumble.

In Venezuela, we only coat with flour to make the skin extra crispy and golden. And that’s it!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and I see you in the next one!

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Venezuelan pescado frito (fried fish)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins
If you ever go to a Venezuelan beach — just look at Los Roques — you won’t escape a big plate with pescado frito, patacones and coleslaw.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Venezuelan
Keyword: pescado frito
Servings: 2 people
  • 2 medium size sea bream (gutted and cleaned)
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • Oil to fry
  1. Make 2 – 3 diagonal cut in the skin of the sea breams. Both sides.
  2. Season the fish with salt and lime juice. Make sure that the fish is seasoned inside and out.
  3. Coat with flour.
  4. In a big pan with enough oil to cover at least half of the fish fry the sea bream for about 6- 8 minutes per side. Flip carefully and when it’s golden with some brown spots take it out of the pan to a plate with absorbent paper.

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