Tsipoura is otherwise known as Gilt Head Bream
Tsipoura is the second of the Mediterranean fish that I would like to introduce. In the UK we don’t serve a similar fish with which to compare this beauty.
And yes I do believe that this fish is a thing of beauty. I’ve been scuba diving and watched the Tsipoura in its natural environment. It moves elegantly, occasionally darting off at speed. Caught, cleaned and cooked, when served it is also a thing of beauty but now for a different reason. It looks good on the plate, perhaps it is the curving profile of the fish, or it may be the way that the cooked flesh is bright white. Looking good is fine, but what does it taste like? Delicate, sweet and delicious!
As with almost all commercially caught fish, the Tsipoura that you eat is farmed. Almost certainly so. That doesn’t make it ‘bad’. It’s a statement of fact about how we, having almost fished out our oceans, have turned to cages. Huge cages in which fish are corralled as they grow. Once they achieve a certain size, they are harvested.
In ancient times, Sea bream was dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite. The Ancient Greeks considered it to be one of the best fish you could have.
Cooking and eating Tsipoura
One method used to prepare Tsipoura for the table involves wrapping. Use greaseproof paper or parchment to wrap your fish. Before wrapping season with lemon, olive oil, oregano and a hint of garlic. Adding a second layer of aluminium foil will resist the heat of the bbq and also ensure no flavours or aromas escape.
When you go to a Psarotaverna, a fish restaurant, you will likely find your Tsipoura has been opened, cleaned and then grilled on the bbq. It will be transferred to a plate, a dash of olive oil may be applied, some chopped parsley will be sprinkled on top along with some seasoning.
In most places the fish will be served with Cyprus potatoes, sliced into chips and fried to perfection. A selection of dips will accompany a village salad and there will be bread.
As well as having a divine taste, Tsipoura also contains a good amount of Omega-3 fats which makes it a very healthy option as well.
Yes, you have to watch out for the bones, but tsipoura contains fewer bones than many, and they are easy to spot. Hey, if you are going out to eat fish whilst visiting Cyprus, then you should try Tsipoura. At least once. If you do, I suspect that you won’t regret it. It will likely not be the last time you choose this tasty fish.
If you enjoyed this fishy story, why not have a read of my earlier blog post about Lavraki?