Tag Archives: Fish

Fish Friday …. Merluza en Salsa Verde

19 Jul

Whether it’s to do with fasting from meats and fats or some medieval papal conspiracy with the guild of fishmongers Fridays in christendom have long been associated with eating fish. For me it was usually fish and chips on a Friday before heading into Bolton town centre for a healthy dose of several pints of bitter, a pint or two of Man & Scythe cider and sometimes a cheeky nip of Yates wine (rocket fuel) interspersed with ear splitting riffs down in the Swan cellar (a local pub which had a Heavy Rock club in the basement). 

I love fish and seafood. It’s something I have yearned to be good at cooking but a combination of expense, availability, and cowardice seem to have limited how much fish cooking I do. A favourite get away for me and Liz is Rick Steins Seafood restaurant in the beautiful fishing port of Padstow, Cornwall. Champagne, fruit de mar, langoustines, lobster with fine herbs, and sole a la meuniere all make for a cracking feast. The sole is a real favourite of ours and when we lived near the market town of Berkhamsted near London we did buy a couple of sole from the fish stall on the Saturday market and make a pretty decent job of recreating the dish. One of the more interesting diversions was observing how the eye of the fish popped out when we skinned the fish. 

Fish and Spain seem to go together and one of the things I’m looking forward to is getting down to the fishing ports and eating in the bars and restaurants around them. One of the first fish dishes I had last century in Spain was a wonderfully flavoursome Hake cooked in a parsley sauce. I recall the one I had incorporated a few mussels. I think clams (almejas) would work as an addition to this dish. I’ve got about a half dozen recipes for dishes of the same name.The one I’m going top try today is from “The Food of Spain” by Vicky Harris and published by Murdoch books. This one does not use mussels or clams. Unlike the other recipes it uses a couple of chillies, garlic cooked to a nutty brown, and also incorporates the use of asparagus spears. It does need fish stock but I’ll cheat on this and use some stock cubes although I will now start to save scraps from fish bones, prawn heads, etc to make stock. I make my own chicken stock which keeps well in the freezer so I don’t see why I shouldn’t make fish stock as well. 

Sometime over the weekend I’ll transcribe the recipe and notes from making it to a blog along with some pictures and tasting notes. The book says it works just as well with cod or similar white fish (which I guess would include pollack which is much more sustainable) or monkfish. Hake, or Merluza in Spain, is one of my favorite fish. I prefer it to cod when having fish and chips and have made hake in a deliciously light beer batter back in England with homemade chips and mushy peas. You can take the lad out of Bolton but you can’t take Bolton out of the lad. I also have a way of making chips that produces really good chips … crispy outside, soft & fluffy inside, and not greasy. I will post up my Chip method as well. I think its foolproof. 

Hake is a popular fish in Spain. Almost a half of all the Hake caught in European waters (Atlantic and North Sea) goes to Spain and in Spain it accounts for a third of all fish consumed. Unlike the UK fish is very reasonably priced here. The last time I bought Hake in the UK (last year) I paid about 19pounds a kilo. I bought 500g today for less than 5 euros. 

It’s time to go and start the food prep so I’ll leave you with a generic pic of the dish brought to you by the electronic miracle that is the internet. Image

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