Hake with Clams and Parsley
Sauce Recipe

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Hake with Clams in Parsley Sauce
By Charlie Burke

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Spanish cuisine is not well understood in this country, but, varying from
traditional peasant preparations to sophisticated cutting - edge experiments
copied by chefs around the world, it provides something for everyone.

The finest meal I ever had was in a small Michelin 2 Star restaurant on a cliff
above the ocean west of St Sebastian in Basque Spain, and I’ve had nothing but
the highest respect for Spanish chefs since.

Hake (“merlutha” in Spain) has firm white flesh with a mild but distinct
flavor.  Breaded, sautéed and served with lemon, it surpasses haddock and
cod, in my opinion; also, it is not over-fished, which is becoming increasingly
important as other species are threatened. If hake is unavailable, either halibut
or cod makes an acceptable substitute.

This recipe is from the north and is typical of the subtle blending of
harmonious flavors seen in seafood from this region. It is prepared on the
cook top and requires attention while it is cooking but is not difficult to
prepare. It is a unique and flavorful dish, perfect for entertaining. Typically,
the hake and clams are served alone in the green sauce, but I prefer to boil
thinly sliced potatoes to be served on the same plate with some of the sauce.
Then, a green salad and crusty bread complete the meal.

Four servings:

4 6 -8 ounce hake fillets
16 littleneck or mahogany clams, soaked in salted water for 30 minutes and
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 ½ cups hot water
3 tablespoons flour
2 large Yukon gold or similar potatoes, very thinly sliced

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, add salt and cook potatoes until softened.
Drain and set aside. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add olive
oil sufficient to generously skim the pan. Place clams into pan, cover and cook
until clams open. Remove immediately and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add garlic and 2 tablespoons parsley to pan, sprinkle salt and pepper on both
sides of fish and add to pan. Sprinkle flour around fish and add water slowly,
whisking flour to prevent lumps. Turn heat to low and cook, spooning liquid
over fish to cook top of fillet. Continue for 10 – 12 minutes until fish is just
done. Slice into fish – it should barely be opaque. Remove fish to heated
plates, and add clams and potatoes to pan to reheat. If sauce is thick, add hot
water until just thin.

Arrange clams and potatoes around fish, divide sauce among plates and
sprinkle remaining parsley over fillets. Serve this with a dry white wine such
as a Sancerre or a full bodied Sauvignon Blanc, either domestic or from New
Zealand. This recipe takes some extra time and effort, but results in a
memorable meal for you and your guests.

About the author:  An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is
the vice president of the
New Hampshire Farmer'sMarket Association, a
member of the
NH Farm to Restaurant Connection and helps run the
Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows
certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather Hill Farm in
Sanbornton, NH.  
Hake with Clams
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