Saturday, 20 May 2017

Hake..and then there was none

I alternate meat and fish days but admit to liking both in equal measure. When I was a child, my favourite dish was my mother's baked fish with a white sauce, boiled potatoes and boiled vegetables. If there was a blander meal on the planet I would have liked that too. It was many, many years later that I discovered the difference between bland, unappetising food for frankly, invalids, and the joys of French flair in cooking.

This dish is again, relatively simple as is all my repertoire (I work long hours!). I love the tail of a fish- it is somehow 'sweeter' to eat.

Squeeze half a lemon over the hake and add salt and pepper (sea salt and a good grinding of coarse black pepper). Lay the fish in a baking tray with a splash of olive oil. Add a pinch of thyme, a finely diced clove of garlic, a splash of dry white wine and a good handful of chopped spring onions- white and green parts. Dot with butter. Leave the fish to marinate for 15 minutes max.

Meanwhile, blanch a handful of cherry tomatoes in boiling water. Remove with a slotted spoon and peel the skins off. Add the tomatoes to the fish. Cover the fish with foil and place in a pre-heated oven at 230 degrees C. Cook for twenty minutes. Reduce the heat to 200 degrees C and cook for ten minutes more.

Uncover the fish and cook for a further ten minutes at 230 degrees C. By now all the vegetables including the tomatoes will have amalgamated into a thick sauce. Remove the fish carefully and set aside. Keep warm.

Cook the sauce over a medium heat for round five minutes. Add 1/2cup of double cream and simmer gently. Taste for seasoning. Add more cream if liked.

The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add finely chopped parsley to the sauce and remove from the heat.

Fillet the fish. Drape the sauce over the fillets.

Serve the fish with roast potatoes or boiled potatoes and a steamed vegetable of your choice.

Any white fish will do if you can't get hake- cod or haddock or halibut work well. The secret is in the sauce...:)

Photos copyright SvD.

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