Merluza a la Cazuela (oven baked hake)
Hake is eaten a lot in Galicia, it is great for baking as it has a firm, sweet, meaty flesh and is a good substitute for cod (though in this recipe any firm white fish will do). It is traditionally cooked in a clay dish (a cazuela) and everything seems to taste better when cooked in earthenware…however of course you can use any oven proof dish…
Here is how Carmen (mum to me) makes it…
To make the sauce:
Chop 3 onions, 1 garlic clove and 1 small red pepper add to olive oil in a pan and sauté gently till tender (not brown). Add black pepper, some mixed herbs, parsley and a little dry white wine or dry sherry, some sweet paprika, a squeeze of lemon juice and 4 tbsp of fish stock (you could use chicken stock also). Leave to simmer for a few minutes till all ingredients are amalgamated, add salt to taste.
Meanwhile fry some thick cut potato slices till partially cooked, then remove from oil and use then to line the base of your cazuela or oven proof dish (add a little salt). Add a little fish stock to the potatoes.
Place your thickly sliced hake pieces over the potatoes, season them and spoon over generous amounts of the sauce. Place in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes, when the fish is nearly cooked take out of the oven and add some large white asparagus chunks (tinned or fresh and blanched), some thick red pepper slices and a few peas, return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Allowing the dish to sit for at least 5 minutes after taking it out of the oven will improve the flavour. Eat along with a chilled glass of albariño or ribeiro wine…
other foody posts on this blog:
lemons mrs beeton and colombia lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano
…ok, i love this place. If i come to Genoa i always try to eat from there. Located in the old port, under some arches, with no name, it’s a little narrow shop where 2 ladies fry fish all day and you buy it to take away.
It is long and narrow with white and blue tiles. There is a small prep room at the back, and then in the shop itself a big, coal fired stove with 2 giant pans of boiling oil.
The place is like an oven, its 37 degrees outside and i guess the lady frying has asbestos skin…anyway i also guess it might have effected her mood as she would not let me take pictures inside (said i could do what i like from outside!).
There was a shrine to the madonna at the end, and some old photos showing people in that same location doing exactly the same thing so i guess they have been frying those fish for a longgggg time. We took our haul wrapped in paper down to the port to eat.
clockwise starting at the bottom we ate: pignolini (whitebait i think anyway it’s tiny fish), acciughe (anchovies), panissa (typical of liguria, a stiff chickpea flour mixture is shaped like chips and fried) and frittelle (fried batter really, with some herbs), baccalà (cod)
to drink: chinotto, a fizzy aromatic italian cola named after the small bitter citrus fruit it is made from.
anyway i know it looks a little greasy and it was all fried but it was also extremely fresh and delicious…and no doubt very bad for you…yum!
Today’s probing question…how on earth did i live so long without ever buying or even trying cod roe?, have always ignored it in the past. However queueing up for the fishmongers, the lady in front of me was buying some for her tea and extolling its virtues so i bought some. I sliced it and coated it in seasoned flour and then fried it till golden brown and then served the slices on top of some toasted ciabatta. In the same pan i then melted some butter, added some parsley and lemon juice, salt and pepper and drizzled it over the roe. I ate it along with some freshly boiled beetroot dressed with some truffle salt and a little extra virgin olive oil and a dollop of good strong horseradish sauce. Not rocket science i know, but a revelation to me, the cod roe tasted great, slightly fishy, slightly smoky with a nice crispy exterior and a creamy/softly grainy interior.
other foody posts on this blog:
ossobuco vs xerrete
in praise of colombian food
restaurant still lives
few flowered recipes
first forage of the season
nose to tail and farajullas
albariño wine genius
returning to the matanza
chocolate con churros
pani puri sunday
revelations in a milanese restaurant
further adventures in foraging
cooking the haul
nose to tail,
pulpo a la gallega
morcilla and dying arts