Emblanco – horse mackerel soup

Emblanco – horse mackerel soup

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1 kg horse mackerel
1 kg potatoes
1 tomatoes
1 green peppers
1 onion
1 small bunch of parsley
1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil

This is certainly the most typical, authentic, but also a little bit strange fish soup from malagan cuisine. I say strange because it is definitely not the type of universally appealing dish as let’s say paella. The fish flavour coming from one of the most aromatic bluefish in the market combined with fresh lemon is not everyone’s cup of tea. The recipe is believed to be of Sephardic origin.

It is the culinary expression of a modest malagan life, combining the most basic and cheapest ingredients in a very straightforward fashion. The soup is by the locals accredited by almost miraculous healing effects, especially during stomach problems and after a heavy night of drinking.



  • In a deep pot, cover sliced potatoes, pepper, onion and 50ml of olive oil with water. Add finely chopped garlic, salt and let everything simmer.

  • Few minutes before the potatoes are ready to eat add the horse mackerels without heads, guts and the hard skin and lightly salt.


  • Simmer for 5 minutes and pour over the lemon juice and add the parsley. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil right before serving.



Jurel (horse mackerel) is one of the cheapest fish in the market. It is a little bit difficult to clean but it has a firm texture and strong flavour. It is very versatile, suited for all types of preparations. There are different names in Spain for the horse mackerel, jurel being the most common (xorélo in Galicia and sorell in Catalonia). The name comes from the Mozarabic surel, which come from Latin saurus, which means lizard.