Fish and seafood Recipes Tapas and appetizers recipes

Scorpionfish cake

Scorpionfish cake


  • Half
  • 70 minutes
  • For 6 people
  • 2.5 € / person

How to prepare a scorpionfish cake . This Cabracho pate or pudding has become one of the most popular dishes on the menus of many restaurants in Spain.

Perhaps a great ally of recipes with fish , to serve as an appetizer with crispy bread toasts, although this recipe that we take for popular is not more than 30 years old.

It was created by the chef Juan Mari Arzak in 1971. The story of this recipe is told by Rafael Gacía Santos in his book “La cocina vasca”   “Arzak used to eat tapas at the Bar Astelena in San Sebastián and there they made a cake with hake. The Basque chef, who still remains a banner of world cuisine, exchanged hake for scorpionfish (Kabraroka in Basque), took away the bread, then common in this type of pudding, and lightened the recipe with cream to make the cake much more light.

This would be one of the first approximations of what would later be called “The new Basque cuisine”. What in those years was absolute innovation, we can now taste in many bars and inns nationwide. I imagine that something similar will happen with many dishes of Ferrán Adriá in a few years.

scorpionfish The scorpionfish is a very tasty fish that goes from pearls to a fish cake . Its color varies from red to orange and it has a very firm meat with a pleasant “seafood flavor”, which is exquisite in the preparation of cakes and salpicones. The use of the scorpionfish until then was very small, just to give flavor to soups and fish stews, since it has so little meat, since it has many bones, it is nothing, the substitution of this fish is perfect with redfish or hake ( where the origin of the recipe comes from).

The cake that I present to you is based on the famous Arzak recipe, it is actually a pudding , a spreadable appetizer or a spectacular first course at any family dinner or meal. A tribute to this great chef, although not his recipe, is a version. Dare to prepare it for any lunch or dinner you have, don’t forget to toast some of your favorite bread.

Preparation of the base of the Cabracho cake

  1. We put water to boil in a wide-bottom casserole.
  2. We add a carrot, a leek, a whole onion, salt, pepper, some bay leaves, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little white wine to get a broth to cook the scorpionfish. We must let it cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain broth and reserve. Do not throw away the carrot, leek and onion. You can make a great cream for another day.
  4. We add the scorpionfish to the broth that we have reserved still hot and let it cook another 15 minutes. When that time has passed we remove it, we clean (we remove the skin and the thorns). We crumble as best we can.
  5. If you do not want to walk removing the skin and bones, you can always tell the fishmonger to clean it and prepare it in fillets. Get along well with your fishmonger, or is one of your great allies in the kitchen.
  6. We reserve the broth in a bowl. We can take advantage of it for a soupy rice or a fish and seafood soup. Always in the same casserole in which we have cooked the scorpionfish we pour the cream.

Baking and final presentation of the Cabracho cake

  1. We preheat the oven to 190º C.
  2. We heat at low temperature for 5 minutes. Then we add a splash of the previous broth. We move away from the fire.
  3. We beat the eggs with the homemade fried tomato and with a fork we introduce it with the crushed peppers and the hot cream.
  4. We add the crumbled fish. We try and rectify salt and pepper.
  5. Normally there is no need to add salt, but the broth may have been bland. We beat a little until we get a fine paste that remains as a pate.
  6. We spread a cake pan with butter. Sprinkle with some breadcrumbs. Pour the fish mixture into the cake pan.
  7. Bake about 40 minutes at 180º C.
  8. We remove from the oven, let it cool and remove from the mold.

The truth is that it is a pudding and its preparation is very similar to some desserts that I have presented to you on some other occasion. We can present it in slices with a little mayonnaise and toasted bread spread.

The good thing about this type of cake is that it serves as a base for any other you want to make with fish. You can use any type of white fish that you like.

I encourage you to visit more recipes for  delicious tapas, snacks and pinchos for an unforgettable evening with yours. If you still do not have it clear, I leave you a step by step in photos of this recipe for fish cake or scorpion fish pudding  so that they come out yes or yes.

Cabracho cake recipe according to Juan Mari Arzak

José Ramón Corta has sent me an email with the authentic recipe of the great chef. He has tried it several times and says it is very good (I have not tried it, I have to tell you, but I thought it was a great idea to share it with all of you). Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1/2 kg. raw scorpionfish, and without head (if not, use hake)
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 of liter of liquid cream
  • 1/4 of liter of tomato sauce
  • Water
  • A carrot
  • 1 leek
  • 1 onion
  • – Salt
  • – Pepper
  • 1 pinch of butter and breadcrumbs.
  1. Cook the scorpionfish with the water, onion, leek and carrot for a few minutes. Once cooked, we crumble and crumble. We mount the eggs to the point of omelette. Immediately incorporate the cream, the tomato sauce and the reserved fish. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Pour into a liter and a half mold – rectangular – previously smeared with butter and breadcrumbs (if we use a plasticized mold, it is not necessary). We cook in a water bath for an hour and a quarter. Once cold, remove from the mold and cut into regular pieces.
  3. Important : We put the oven at a high temperature but we avoid boiling the water in the water bath. It is not necessary to add more quantity of fish than the indicated one. Otherwise we will get the pudding to weigh down and lose its best virtue: juiciness .
  4. Originally this pudding was served with mayonnaise sauce, now it is also served with the following vinaigrette:

Ingredients : 1/2 dl. of walnut (or sunflower) oil, 2 tablespoons of Chinese soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of sherry vinegar, the juice of 1/2 orange. 20 gr. of black sesame, chopped parsley and salt.

  • We beat all ingredients, mounting lightly, except the sesame that we will add it at the end.


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