Sunday, 5 February 2017
Another Billy No Mates Meal - Hake with Salsa Verde
It’s a lifelong intention to try to persuade those that I share a house with to eat more fish. But they won’t. One won’t entertain it. Two of them will eat it in batter. Annoyingly, one of those two eats moules frites like they are French. Or Belgian. But, no, we’re not having fish. No sirree. No. Never. Non.
This child eats moules
This child doesn't (eat anything remotely fishy at all. Ever)
Only if it's in batter and I can give him a no bone guarantee...
Which is why I now eat it on my own as a special meal for me. I am determined for the eating of fish not to be solely the domain of special occasions, when I go out for a meal somewhere swanky (it’s rarely swanky). I will eat it when Phill is not here and I can palm Lola and Finn off with something involving pasta.
And whatever fish I decide to cook, it’s fast. Faster than the meal that I might hurl together of a weeknight between the filling of lunchboxes and the loading of the washing machine. It’s the fish and something lip smackingly good to accompany it, like this punchy salsa verde to accompany one of my favourite fish, hake.
This recipe has been gently adapted from ‘Modern Spanish Cooking’ by Sam and Eddie Hart. Even if I am a Brit, brought up on stodge and spuds, I think I could quite happily live with the food of Spain, punctuated with the odd chip butty. And maybe a pie. I imagine that this dish would be elevated to ambrosial heights, eaten whilst sat in the warm evening sun, a glass of Albarino in hand and the sound of Aranjuez hanging in the air, but for the present, the surroundings of my kitchen on any given weekday evening, with a cup of tea and the sound of Lola and Finn bickering over who is putting the washing on the maiden will have to suffice.
Hake with Salsa Verde adapted from Modern Spanish Cooking by Sam and Eddie Hart
Note: The quantity of salsa verde would suffice for six portions. I like salsa verde. Lots. I made a bigger batch so I could have it with this and then use it the next day, drizzled over chicken or over tomatoes. Yum.
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad, and two others.
Six pieces of hake, mine were about two cm thick.
For the salsa verde:
150ml extra virgin olive oil
50g baby spinach leaves
30g flat leaf parsley
10g mint sprigs
1 oregano sprig, leaves stripped
20g capers, drained
2 tsp Dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 to 1 whole lemon (to taste)
sea salt, freshly ground pepper
Make the salsa verde first. Put the olive oil in to a blender and add the spinach and herbs. Then add the capers and the mustard. Lastly add half the lemon and then begin to taste for seasoning. I added the other half of the lemon juice because I wanted more zing. Set aside.
Cook the hake. Put a little olive oil into a frying pan and swirl the pan to ensure the base is covered with the oil. The pan needs to be hot.
I seasoned the hake pieces each side and then placed them, skin side down, into the pan. Cook for a few seconds and then reduce the heat to medium. I cooked my hake for about two minutes on either side.
Remove the fish from the pan and allow it to rest a little, then serve with a puddle of salsa verde. I also added a few baby potatoes for a bit of ballast!