This was a surprisingly easy and delicious appetizer to prepare. I have had several versions of commercial dulong spread in olive oil that were sold either bottled or in other containers at food bazaars and I honestly never thought to try making them myself. Similar to spanish boquerones (in oil rather than mostly vinegar) or even angullas (real or faked), the dulong in olive oil makes a great appetizer or spread on toast. I spied a simple sounding recipe in the current April issue of Apetite magazine credit to Atty. Gabby Concepcion, and decided to give it a go. I changed the proportions of ingredients slightly, and omitted others, but feel free to make your own adjustments.
I took about 1/4 kilo of market fresh dulong and quickly rinsed them tap water and drained them. In a small saucepan, heat up about 1/2-3/4 cup of olive oil and sauté 2 tablespoons of finely minced garlic and one finely minced ailing labuyo (or some dried chili flakes) for a minute or so over low heat, just until fragrant, and not browned. Add the dulong and a couple of fresh bay leaves and sauté for a minute or two. Add 2-3 Tablespoons of crisp white wine and let the liquid evaporate. Season with salt and pepper. I then removed the dulong into a small bowl, and boiled down the liquid until it was mostly oil which I poured over the dulong. Let this cool for several minutes before serving with a garnish of Italian parsley and some lemon wedges. We served this with toasted slices of french bread. The dulong benefits from a couple of hours of marinating in the garlic oil, so feel free to make this a few hours ahead.
The garlicky fish spread is tasty and a wonderful appetizer that pairs well with wine or drink of your choice. Perfect for the Lenten season if you abstain from meat. And this little bowl couldn’t have cost more than PHP100 to prepare, mostly the cost of good olive oil…
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