Hake Fillets with Asparagus

Hake fillets with hollandaise
Hollandaise sauce supports the flavors of hake and asparagus.

When I moved from home in Finland my mom gave me a recipe book from the 50’s. There were some black and white pictures and every recipe started like: “Take one polar bear and slaughter it”. No wonder I was well over 30 when I took interest in cooking.

However, now when we are living in Spain availability of ingredients is very different compared to Finland, UK or USA. For example here we have old fashioned fish and meat counters. Everything is fresh and if you need a whole rabbit or half a lamb, it’s there. You don’t necessarily need to go a market hall (if you don’t want to, because they are open only in the mornings and close for siesta at 2 PM), almost everything is available in the supermarkets. Really. For example whole rabbits were for sale today in our local supermarket for 3,50 €/kg (about US$2 per pound).

I’m still a bit shocked by the polar bear thing so we didn’t go for a rabbit now, but maybe some day. Instead we got ourselves a whole merluza, hake. It was bit of a hazard move to buy it, because the fish is huge. There’s three of us eating, but … this guy weights about 3 kg (6 pounds) with its head and guts. I’m happy the fish fit in our car’s trunk…

Ingredients for Hake Fillets for 4 Servings

  • A medium size (2-3 kg or 4-5 pounds) hake – merluza
  • A pinch of sea salt – sal marina
  • A pinch of ground black pepper – pimienta negra
  • A handful of chives – cebollino

If you are not experienced with filleting fish, ask them to do it for you at the fish counter. All you need is a very sharp filleting knife and a fish bone pliers. Cut the fillets into portion size pieces and place on an oven tray. Season with salt, pepper and chives. Cook in 175 ºC (350 ºF) oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Ingredients for Steamed Asparagus for 4 Servings

  • A bunch of asparagus spears – espárragos
  • A pinch of sea salt – sal marina
  • A knob of butter – mantequilla

Place water in the bottom half of a steamer pan and bring to a boil.
Trim the dry ends off of the asparagus and peel them lightly. Place them in the steamer and season with butter and salt. Steam for 5-10 minutes until asparagus is tender.

Ingredients for Hollandaise Sauce

For making hollandaise sauce check out our previous post Golden Perch With Hollandaise Sauce.

¡Buen provecho!

Tip: make your own fish stock of hake’s bones

Hake’s head is huge and it will make a wonderful fish stock along with the bones and skin, so don’t throw them away! You can freeze the stock and use it later. Simply slice some vegetables (carrots, onions, leek, celery… what ever you have on hand) in a large soup pot and fry them quickly in olive oil on high heat. Add about half a bottle of dry white wine and bring it to boil. Let is simmer for about 10 minutes and add couple of bay leaves, a pinch of salt and whole white peppers.

Add water so that all ingredients are barely under it and bring to boil. Cut hake bones into smaller pieces and rinse everything from blood. Remove gills from the head. Put the bones and head into boiling water and let it very slowly simmer for about 40 minutes – no more. Add water, if needed to cover all ingredients. If foam is formed on top of the stock, remove it with a spoon. Finally check the taste and season with salt and pepper. Strain the stock, let it cool and freeze. You can use this for making a paella, for example.

2 thoughts on “Hake Fillets with Asparagus

  1. Hi – nice recipe – i love your blog it is nice to see someone trying different foods in a different country.I want to ask if i could use your photograph odf a Spanish fish counter on a website about cookery holidays?
    thanks and keep up the good work

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