Dried conger eel, a culinary culture

Wooden conger eel drying frames

Muxía was and still is the destination for countless travellers. Some come for religious reasons, to one of the most relevant shrines devoted to Our Lady - Nosa Señora da Barca - where pilgrims finishing the Way to St. James to the Atlantic Ocean also find their way. Natives of Calatayud (known in Spanish as bilbilitanos) also came here. In the Middle Ages they brought ropes for boats in Muxía and took dried conger eel back with them as payment in kind, transforming it into a delicacy for the palate that is still eaten today. The two conger eel drying sites in Muxía are the only ones still working in all Spain. The curing and drying of the fish is totally traditional.

The simple recipe of chickpeas à la bilbitaína, in which the other main ingredient is dried conger eel from Muxía, forms part of the culinary culture of this part of Zaragoza and other inland areas like Castilla, Soria, La Rioja, other towns in Aragón, and also Reus in Cataluña. It is eaten above all at Easter and Christmas.

At Easter there is a special conger eel event in Muxía, when local restaurants prepare different specialities using this fish.

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