Similar dishes, in which whole fish are cooked on a bed of potato and vegetables, can be found all over Spain. The bed of potato and vegetables is called fondo, meaning foundation.
Pargo al fondo typifies the pragmatic nature of the Spanish cook — cooking with one cooking vessel, thus using less fuel. Also using the fondo to absorb the cooking juices makes the potatoes tastier and leaves nothing to waste. In fact, the potatoes are my favourite part of the dish, as they take on every part of the intense flavour of the stock, wine and the richness of the fish. We use snapper but you can use any other whole fish of a similar size. Whole fish is tastier and better for you. When you cook whole fish the skin and bones break down to form gelatine, which is a very nourishing protein.