I’m hoping for a not too wet spring this year, and not too breezy so that the blossom remains longer to cheer us all from the dark and grey of winter. I thought we’d go for a fresh fish dish this month, swimming in its own stock. That’ll surely make it rain now!
Hake with Mussels & Bacon
For 4 persons
- 4 x 100g hake fillets with skin on if possible
- 200g parsley
- 25ml crème frâiche
- 500g mussels
- 175g butter
- 25ml apple juice
- 60g spring cabbage (sweetheart)
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 2 bacon rashers
- Rapeseed oil, for frying
1.) Pick the stalks out of the bunch of parsley and discard. Plunge the parsley into a pan of boiling salted water. Cook for two minutes, then drain (reserving the cooking water) then refresh in iced water. When it has cooled, drain it again and place in a blender. Process while adding a bit of the cooking water to make a purée the consistency of double cream. Pass through a sieve and stir in the crème fraiche. Set aside.
2.) Clean the mussels with a good scrub to get rid of any grit and pull off any ‘beards’.
3.) Put 115g of butter in a pan and heat it until it foams. Add the mussels and cook with the lid on for two minutes or until the shells have opened. Add a splash of apple juice and cook for a further minute. Leave the mussels to cool a bit, then strain off the cooking juices, saving them for later, and shell the mussels.
4.) Quarter the cabbage, cut out the core and discard. Cut the cabbage into strips and put in a saucepan with 1cm water and the remaining butter. Salt lightly and boil until the water evaporates. As soon as you hear the butter begin to sizzle, take the pan off the heat and season with black pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Keep warm.
5.) Grill the bacon until crispy and cut into pieces. Heat a non-stick frying-pan with minimal oil over a medium heat and fry the seasoned fillets of hake, skin-side down, until golden brown – three to four minutes. Transfer to a baking tray and finish in an oven heated to 150°C. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets but will only be a couple of minutes, maybe three.
6.) Place a spoonful of cabbage on each plate, top with a piece of hake and decorate with parsley purée. Warm the mussels through in their juices, check the seasoning of the liquor and spoon over the fish, top with the bacon pieces.