(Photo from http://www.gastronomiavasca.net)
1kg merluza (hake)
100ml white wine
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
caldo de pescado (fish stock)
First get your fish stock on the go or defrost one you’ve saved. (In Spain when we buy fresh fish we get the fishmonger to give us the heads, bones etc. They will usually throw in a bit of parsley.) Put your bones, heads, tails etc in a pot with a couple of tomatoes and some stalks of parsley and a couple of bay leaves. Add a little salt & freshly ground black pepper, cover with a litre of water and bring to the boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer until it is done to your taste. Strain off the liquid and save.
The hake can be in fairly thick steaks or medallions. Salt it and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then turn it in flour. Heat the oil in a casserole or similar pan. The trick to this dish is that, like the James Bond martini, it is shaken not stirred so your cooking vessel must be something you can hold without burning yourself.
Add the pieces of hake and quickly brown on both sides. Now add the chopped garlic (to taste) and the wine. Shake the casserole and begin to add the stock drop by drop until it forms a sauce with the consistency of thick cream. Add the cooked peas – better fresh, but frozen will do, and if you want, any or all of the optional ingredients.
Season with salt and pepper and chopped parsley
Gently shake the casserole from time to time to ensure that the fish doesn’t stick and also to add consistency to the sauce, which will thicken as the fish cooks – about 15 minutes.