Battered and fried squids are one of the most popular dishes of Madrid’s gastronomy. Whether it’s a tapa, a ration, a “bocata” (a kind of sandwich) … these mollusks are already part of the soul of the city. But it was not always like that.
Despite Madrid is far from the coast, from the 16th century in Madrid you could find fish. As the trip from the coast lasted a lot of time, it did not always arrive in the best conditions, of course. This is the origin of putting lemon to these foods, which was initially made to cover the bad smell of fish.
The Catholic customs of not eating meat on certain dates, increased the need for consumption of these products. Not only in Madrid, but in the rest of the interior cities. Thus, in 1739, the King granted a special permit to bring fish and shellfish to Madrid from the ports of northern Spain.
Even so, transportation time was still a problem. So, in addition to use lemon, it began to popularize the habit of batter and fry the fish. This also contributed, of course, the arrival of many Andalusian immigrants to the capital. In this way, another one of the most popular dishes of the Madrid food emerges: the breaded cod.
Of course, the squids were coated and fried, too.It was a cheap and easy to prepare product because it has no thorns. And if they were also put between two good slices of bread, they provided a complete and economical meal.
It was already in the twentieth century when this dish that we all know was settling in all the establishments of the capital. Especially in very popular areas, such as the Plaza Mayor.
And in this way, the “bocata calamares” as it is said in Madrid, became a classic of our gastronomy. Of course, in El Anciano Rey de los Vinos you can enjoy all kinds of typical batter: squid, cod, prawns… and of course accompanied by a wine, a fresh glass of beer or a natural vermouth. We are waiting for you..