AS I SAT IN HER KITCHEN, CONCHA BARRADO REELED OFF DOZENS OF JAMÓN RECIPES. HER HUSBAND’S FAMILY HAVE BEEN MAKING JAMÓN IN GUIJUELO FOR GENERATIONS AND SHE KNOWS A JAMÓN RECIPE FOR EVERY OCCASION AND TO GO WITH ALMOST EVERY FOOD KNOWN TO MAN. ONLY WHEN IT CAME TO DESSERTS DID SHE FAIL TO COME UP WITH ONE. THIS IS ONE OF HER FISH RECIPES THAT STRUCK ME AS BEING PARTICULARLY DELICIOUS — BAKED BABY HAKE WRAPPED AROUND JAMÓN, THEN GRILLED AND TOPPED WITH A GOOD DOLLOP OF ALIOLI. AS WE DON’T HAVE GOOD ACCESS TO BABY HAKE I HAVE USED SMALL KING GEORGE WHITING AND THEY ARE DELICIOUS — BUT YOU CAN USE BABY HAKE IF THESE ARE MORE READILY AVAILABLE WHERE YOU LIVE.
To make the alioli, put the garlic cloves on a wooden chopping board, chop roughly, then sprinkle with the sea salt. Crush to a smooth paste using the flat part of the knife. Place a bowl on a wet cloth that has been folded into quarters — this stops the bowl flying off the bench. Add the egg yolks to the bowl with the mustard and garlic paste and gently blend together using an egg whisk. Add the oils, a few drops at a time, whisking continuously, ensuring the mixture is emulsified before adding more oil. Slowly whisk in the remaining oils little by little until you have a thick manyonnaise. Check for seasoning — dissolve some extra sea salt in the lemon juice if necessary before mixing the lemon juice into the mayonnaise. Finally, whisk in 1 tablespoon warm water so the alioli stays emulsified. Cover and refrigerate until required. This recipe makes more alioli than you need, but the remaining alioli will keep in the refrigerator for 2–3 days.
Fillet the fish, leaving the skin on and reserving the bones. Place the fish bones, tomato, garlic cloves, bay leaves, leek and wine in a large saucepan. Add enough water to just cover, then cook over high heat until just below the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for 25 minutes, skimming the surface regularly. Strain, discard the solids and pour the stock into a large clean saucepan. Add the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove the pan from the heat and keep the potatoes warm in the stock.
Meanwhile, preheat the grill (broiler) to high. Put a tablespoon of alioli on top of each fish roll and grill for 1 minute, or until golden.
To serve, divide the fish and warm potatoes among six small warm plates. Pour a tablespoon of the stock over the potatoes, sprinkle with a little parsley and serve immediately.
© 2009 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.