Hake is much loved in northern Spain, and it’s in season now in the UK, yet we don’t have much of a taste for it, inexplicably. ‘This hake recipe is pan-fried with cockles, asparagus, peas and mint,’ say José. ‘You can use cod or seabream instead, if hake is elusive.’ And today we’re using clams, rather than cockles – they’re slightly easier to get hold of.

‘This is my interpretation of a popular dish in Galicia and the Basque country from my new book, José Pizarro’s Spanish Flavours. It’s a nice, fresh dish, and it’s quick. In ten minutes, you have your supper.’

Jose Pizarro’s pan-fried hake

You’ll need (serves four)

  • 200g fine asparagus tips, cut into 2.5cm lengths
  • 150g peas, fresh or frozen
  • 3–4 tbsp olive oil
  • 90g shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Four 200g pieces of hake fillet, unskinned
  • 500g cockles or clams, cleaned
  • 120ml fish or chicken stock
  • 1/2 tbsp each mint and parsley
  • Salt and pepper

A sneaky tip from the expert

Drop clams onto the steel worktop to see if they’re good. If they open, or spew black sand, chuck ‘em.

  • 1

    Cook the asparagus tips in boiling salted water for one and half minutes; then add the peas for another minute until both are tender. Rinse under cold water and set aside.

  • 2

    Prepare your hake. You can use cod or seabream if you can’t get hold of hake.

  • 3

    Heat one and a half tablespoons of good-quality olive oil in a large saucepan. Gently cook the shallots and garlic until soft but not browned, which takes some five minutes. You can substitute leeks, carrots, celery, onion, etc, if they’re handier.

  • 4

    Rub olive oil all over the hake pieces, hands on. When you pan-fry fish, you have to create a film in order to keep the moisture inside.

  • 5

    Season each piece with freshly ground S and P.

  • 6

    Fry the fish pieces in a second pan, skin side down, on a medium heat for up to three minutes – you want to get the skin crisp and golden. Turn the fish over, turn the heat down slightly, then continue frying for four minutes until it’s just cooked through.

  • 7

    Return to the first pan now. Place over a high heat, before adding the shellfish and stock. Cover and cook for two to three minutes until the cockles or clams have opened.

  • 8

    Add the asparagus and peas, season to taste, and we’re there.

  • 9

    Finally, place the beautifully cooked hake on a big white soup plate, spoon some of the cockle and pea mixture around it with some juice, and serve.

Pizarro; 194 Bermondsey Street, London SE1, 020 7407 7339; www.josepizarro.com, @jose_pizarro
José Pizarro’s Spanish Flavours is published by Kyle Books, RRP £19.99


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