Spanish Shark with Tomatoes

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For many of you, the idea of a shark recipe borders on the immoral. You are half right.

A great many sharks are indeed overfished, some to the point of being officially endangered. And the barbaric practice of “finning,” where people slice the fins off live sharks, tossing the gasping, helpless fish back into the ocean, needs to be banned worldwide. (It already is in America.)

The finished Spanish shark recipe in a bowl
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

But there are lots of shark species that are doing just fine, and indeed there are healthy recreational fisheries for them on all our coasts.

And, according to Seafood Watch, which monitors the sustainability of commercial fisheries, several species you can buy in the store are listed as “Good Alternative,” and dogfish caught by trawling on the West Coast is even listed as a “Best Choice.”

For us in the West Coast, we mostly catch soupfin sharks, dogfish and leopard sharks, with the occasional thresher and seven-gilled shark here and there. Easterners will be most familiar with dogfish, bonnethead sharks, lemon sharks and occasional bull sharks. All can be amazing table fare, none are threatened or endangered, and all can be used for this shark recipe.

Anglers reading this need to think about fish care. After all, many sharks can stink of ammonia if poorly handled, rendering them unfit to eat. This is what you need to do if you want to eat a shark you catch:

  • Bonk it when it comes over the side.
  • Slice the gills to bleed the shark, and hang it over the side for a bit by running rope through the mouth and out the gills.
  • Gut the fish after a few minutes of bleeding (use the stomach contents as bait for the next shark)
  • Get the shark on ice ASAP. This is hugely important.
Two leopard sharks.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I happen to love catching and eating leopard sharks, although I only do it once or twice a year, and I don’t keep females. I firmly believe in wise use of this resource, so we can all keep catching sharks long into the future.

Why bother eating sharks? Because their meat is, well, meaty. Very firm, snow white and savory in the way the meat of a striped bass is. Shark loves to be fried.

Which leads us to this shark recipe.

This is a knockout dish. I read about something called tiburon con pasas y pinones in Calvin Schwabe’s classic book Unmentionable Cuisine. That book has no real recipe, just ingredients. So I made it up from there. The dish Schwabe describes has both pine nuts and raisins in it. I don’t much like raisins, so I left them out. You could put 2 tablespoons in if you’d like.

The texture differences between the shark chunks, the fresh tomatoes and the pine nuts makes this recipe interesting, and I love the way the flavors play with each other.

Have everything ready before you start this dish, as it comes together fast. Serve with saffron rice, potatoes or just crusty bread. White wine is a must with this, although an ice cold pilsner would be good, too.

Looking for another great shark recipe? Try my Italian “glutton’s style” fish, which is great with shark.

The finished Spanish shark recipe in a bowl
5 from 8 votes

Spanish Shark with Pine Nuts and Tomatoes

Shark is a firm, white fish. I used leopard shark, but you could also use dogfish or any small shark. Other good choices would be sturgeon, tilefish, white seabass, tautog, halibut -- really any very firm, white fish you can cut into chunks.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless fillets of shark or other firm, white fish
  • Salt
  • Flour for dusting
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 to 6 Roma or other paste tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
  • Black pepper

Instructions 

  • Cut the shark, or any other firm, white fish, into chunks of about an inch across. Salt well and set aside.
  • Put a saute pan over medium heat and add the pine nuts. Toast them well. Do not walk away at this point, because pine nuts can burn in a hurry. Toss the pan frequently to toast all sides of the nuts, and to see if any are burning. Once you get a nice brown on even a few nuts, turn off the heat and pour the nuts into a bowl.
  • Wipe the saute pan down with a paper towel and add the olive oil. Turn the heat to medium high.
  • Dust the shark in the flour and saute in the oil. I cook two of the four sides well, for 2 to 3 minutes per side, and then just "kiss" the other sides to lightly brown them. Set the cooked shark on a paper towel to drain.
  • Add the garlic and pine nuts to the pan and saute. Add a little more olive oil if the fish soaked up too much. The second you see the garlic brown, add the chopped tomatoes and toss to combine. Grind some black pepper over everything.
  • Add the wine and scrape up any stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  • Sprinkle a little salt over the tomatoes, then add the fish back to the pan. Sprinkle with the smoked paprika and the parsley and toss to combine. Cook for only another minute or so, just to coat everything evenly. It is very important that you not cook the tomatoes so much they break down. Just a couple minutes is all they need. Serve at once. I'd recommend a nice white wine, maybe a Torrontes, or an Albarino.

Nutrition

Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 801mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1434IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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10 Comments

  1. I had the halibut instead of the shark and it work well. Hank is right about the roasted pine nuts, it does take long before they are ready. Since I don’t drink alcohol I substituted fish stock. I also used baby roma’s in a can and it works well. Overall, very fast to make and enjoyable to eat.

  2. Great recipe. I prepared just as in the recipe except I didn’t have pine nuts, so I substituted pistachios. We ate it over rice, and the flavors of the tomatoes, nuts, spices and shark blended together fantastically and worked really well with the rice. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I didn’t have pinenuts so I used sliced almonds. Swordfish that I marinated in soy ginger mustard dill pickle juice For 2 hrs Used the raisins added 2 chopped scallion. Fabulous!

  4. Used cherry tomatoes as that’s what I had on hand. Used a sublime cut of thresher shark loin freshly caught off Pt. Judith, RI. Absolutely amazing flavor. Shark melted in my mouth.

  5. Made this with cherry tomatoes and added a bit of regular paprika and cilantro (and the raisins). It was absolutely delicious!

  6. I don’t remember having eaten shark meat, like, ever, much less to prepare it at home. This seems really interesting.

  7. Hank,

    Eager to try this one. Shark is a favorite catch in Cedar Key. Favorite species to fight and eat down there is the Blacktip, shooild be on your list. Also Atlantic Sharpnose. Both are plentiful.