Sunday, 21 May 2017

`Hake with Everything´ Pescada com todos

Hake with everything, everything with Hake,well almost everything it sometimes seems.Hake is one of the most popular fish in Portugal and even more so in Spain where they go mad for it.It is a fine sustainable sea fish with mild white, delicate flesh.Its versatility makes it suitable for poaching, frying and filleting.
There is even a famous Portuguese dish called "Hake with everything".It is the simplest fish dish there is, and it makes an excellent and nourishing lunch( somehow it does not seem right in the evening,funny that? Practically every restaurant in Portugal serves it as well as every household.The "everything" is made up of hard - boiled eggs, onions, boiled potatoes and seasonal greens.A bit bland to my mind but incredibly popular to others.

Hake is a genus term for 13 species of fish, although the most commonly marketed is European hake. Hake tends to be considered as a similar fish to cod, but it distinguishes itself by its long and sleek body and firmer, meatier flesh with a touch of the eel about it.It has a dull bluish or slate grey back and a large head with a rather menacing mouth displaying sharp teeth that give it a rather threatening appearance.
Hake, like most other white fish, can be matched with flavours as diverse as bacon, horseradish and coconut and this versatility, along with its subtle, sweet flavour, means it is a popular fish the world over. It is perhaps more commonly eaten here in the Iberian peninsular, with Spain in particular incorporating hake into many of their regional dishes. Try drawing on Spanish flavours, pairing it  with chorizo and chickpeas.
Inspired by the title "Hake with everything" I thought what the hake, I am going to throw everything at it and make an extremely tasty fish cake.With the help of some smoky bacon, some contrasting texture and flavour of a chimichurri sauce and a poached egg atop, it was a supper fit for a prince.
Pataniscas de pescada com bacon, ovo escalfado e molho chimichurri
serves 4,makes 12 cakes
600g of good quality cooking potatoes,peeled and chopped
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion finely chopped
125g smoked streaky bacon,finely chopped
500g hake fillet,skin removed
1 egg
5g fennel fronds
vegetable oil for shallow frying
2tsp apple cider vinegar
4 small eggs

For the Chimichurri sauce

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
6 pimentos padrão, finely chopped
2 habañero peppers, finely chopped
2 cups salsa (flat leaf parsley), finely chopped
1 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp golder cane sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Put all the ingredients into a processor and blitz

Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water for about 15minutes,drain then mash.Meanwhile in a frying pan,heat the oil and sweat the chopped onion until soft.Add to the mashed potato,mix well,then set aside to cool.
Wipe out the pan used to cook the onion.Add the bacon and cook until pale golden but not crisp,then drain on kitchen paper.
Finely chop the hake and add it to the cold potato.mash it with a fork to break up any chunks then beat  in the egg.season with Flor de sal and black pepper and fold in the bacon and fennel fronds.Flouring your hands form the mixture into 12 patties and set aside on a floured board or dish until ready to cook. Meanwhile make the chimichurri sauce if you have not done so already.It can be made in advance and kept in ajar in the fridge.
Heat some of the oil in a large frying pan over a low heat and cook in batches for 3-4 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through.Keep warm in the oven while you poach the eggs
Poach the eggs by adding the apple cider vinegar to a saucepan of boiling water.Swirl the water with a spoon and crack in one egg followed by a second and cook for about 3 minutes.remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into abowl of cold water to stop them cooking any further.Skim off the froth in the pan and poach the remaining 2 eggs.To re-heat,place them in barely simmering water for 1 minute.Drain on kitchen paper then place them on top of the warm fish cakes.Serve the chimichurri sauce alongside or in a small dish.

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