Gilda Pintxo

Because we just prepared some quick pintxos for a friend who is moving to Spain soon [sad], it made sense to just take some photos and write this little article about a rather young but ubiquitous creation in pintxo bars. This article is for Patrick.

We have already described here what pintxos are all about.

A Gilda Pintxo may be a simple thing, but the composition is simply congenial: spicy to pungent to hot, bitter, sour, with deep fish flavours. Wow.

You need the best green olives without stones. Pickled green peppers. And anchovies.

The word anchovy comes from the Spanish word anchoa and is another name for the European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus).

You can also make Gilda Pintxo with boquerones, which is another Spanish word for a different processing of the same fish. Boquerones (en vinagre) are the loins of this fish, with skin, marinated in vinegar, garlic and sometimes parsley.

Anchovies are fillets of this fish without skin, marinated in salt brine and then in oil, and mature for at least half a year. They have a deeper flavour and are therefore particularly suited to our taste for Gilda Pintxos. Really great ones come from Cantabria and the Basque Country, on the Spanish north coast and the Bay of Biscay respectively.

We like this arrangement, which is also very stable on the skewer:

You eat that in one bite

The background of the – not Spanish – name “Gilda” is very interesting.

It goes back to a 1946 film with Rita Hayworth, in which she performs a glove striptease.

That was a proper scandal in Spain, which was fascist and extremely Catholic at the time. And then the actress’s father was also a Spaniard from Seville.

Olives, pickled peppers and anchovies were common snacks in northern Spain, but the owner of a bar in Donostia / San Sebastián took the film and what it triggered as a (pungent) inspiration to arrange all three ingredients on a skewer.

And everyone has been doing it ever since.


And may the taste be with you.

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