Fried Hake with Green Sauce

Northern Spain has rich fishing grounds, and hake is a classic of the Basque kitchen. Green sauce, not unlike our parsley sauce, is one of the four classic Basque sauces, together with the black squid ink sauce, the white almond sauce or picada, and the red Basque sauce using pimentos, tomatoes and onions.

Ingredients

  • 4 × 175 g (6 oz) hake steaks
  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour
  • beaten egg
  • lightly toasted breadcrumbs
  • oil or butter for frying

Sauce

  • 60 g (2 oz) unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 2 or 3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons plain flour
  • 100 mls (3 oz) good dry white wine
  • 100 mls (3 oz) fish stock
  • 100 mls (3 oz) single, or whipping cream
  • 3-4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped capers – optional
  • salt
  • pepper

Method

Lightly season the fish, and put to one side while you make the sauce. Heat the fat in a saucepan, and gently sweat the shallots until soft. Stir in the flour, and gradually add the wine and stock. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously to ensure a smooth sauce. Cook for 10 minutes, and then add the cream and herbs. Cook for a few minutes more, and season to taste.

Dip the fish steaks first in the flour and then in the beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Heat the oil or butter, or a mixture of both, in a frying pan, and fry the fish, carefully turning it over once. Hake is a delicate fish, needing gentle handling and cooking. Serve fish and sauce together.

,