As spring rears its hopeful timid head into the cold blast of artic air that is still felt around the country, it is also a time of growth. Daffodils, snow drops and wild garlic can be seen on the sides of country roads. When the sun does come out, there is a sense of good weather is just around the corner. After the last twelve months, we all know that fine weather can lift our spirits just as much as a nice meal or a glass of crisp white wine.
That said, our next celebration is St Patrick's Day next week, planning a delicious meal at home is most enjoyable with a favourite food or drink recipe. Throughout the world people will be tucking into Soda Bread, Bacon & Cabbage, Irish Stew and if you are stateside it would be Corned Beef & Cabbage. Here at home, we are as likely to have a fish supper as we are to have a meat based dish.
Here in Galway, we are blessed to have excellent fishmongers on our doorstep. Graham Roberts in Connemara does the best Smoked Salmon and Stephane in Gannets sends fish in chilled boxes all around the country. We work with Mary's Fish and Noel from Galway Bay Seafoods as our main fish suppliers. We speak to them a few times a week and they very honestly tell us what is good off the boats and what is not.
Each week in The Galmont, we need about 25 pounds of cod, haddock or hake to keep our customers happy with fresh fish & chips. It is a dish we are proud of as we know how fresh the fish is and food at it's essence is about pleasing people.
For this dish we use Hake along with some fresh clams and mussels. It is a simple dish that highlights the main ingredients and it is not too complicated.
Recipe for Baked Hake with Asparagus, Spring Peas, Spinach, Mussel & Clam Butter Sauce
Recipe is for 4 portions.
- 4 Pieces of Hake 210g
- 100grams Fresh Mussels
- 100grams Fresh Clams
- 1 Bunch of Asparagus
- 100grams of Fresh/Defrosted Spring Peas
- 300grams of Fresh Baby Spinach
- 125ml White Wine
- 100ml Fresh Cream
- Juice of One Lemon
- ¼ Bunch of Chives Finely Chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add 3 good pinches of salt to the water.
- Trim the asparagus and throw away the woody parts of the spears. Prepare a bowl of icy water to chill the asparagus once it is cooked. Place the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for 90 seconds. Place them into icy water to stop the cooking. Leave aside with the spinach and peas until later.
- Wash the clams and mussels really well under running water for 5 minutes to remove grit and sand. Bring these clams and mussels to the boil in the white wine and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Once these are cooked, drain the shellfish and keep the cooking liquor. Allow the clams and mussels to chill. Once they are chilled, take the meat out of the shell and reserve. Bring the cooking liquor back to the boil and reduce down by half, add the cream and bring back to the boil and keep boiling until the sauce can coat the back of a spoon. Taste the sauce now. It shouldn’t be salty but should have the taste of the sea which should be enjoyable.
- For the Hake, turn your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Place the fish on a tray with parchment paper underneath it and a splash of olive oil. Bake this in the oven for 12/14 minutes until the fish is cooked through. For the last two minutes of the cooking add your serving plates into the oven to ensure you are serving your food on hot plates.
- While the fish is cooking, heat a sauté pan until it is smoking hot. Add the baby spinach to the pan, season with salt and pepper and put a lid on it for 2 minutes. Take the lid off and drain off excess liquid. Add the peas and the asparagus and warm through. Bring the sauce back to the boil, add the juice of the lemon, the mussel and clam meat and the chives. Once the hake is cooked, remove from the oven and now you are ready to plate up.
- Drain the spinach, peas and asparagus onto some kitchen towel to absorb the liquid. Lay this onto the plate first right in the centre. Put the fish on top of this and then add 3 spoonful’s of sauce making sure you get the shellfish out of the pot! Serve with some baby potatoes on the side & enjoy!