Hake was always the fish that was given to me when I was poorly, as it’s plain yet succulent flesh would cure any signs of a bad disposition. My grandmother would bring it from the port, a whole fresh hake, wrapped in newsprint. She would fillet or slice it into medallions and then infused it in milk, lemon and spices. Sometimes, depending on the season, she would bring small hakes with which she would unite their tales with their mouths, and once grilled then soaked in a garlicky lemon juice. These would keep for a while in her pantry, to be eaten cold between two slices of rustic corn bread. Today I present you with some hake fillets, topped with a crust of wholemeal bread, chopped piquant peppers and parsley. This recipe reminds me of those days in her kitchen. And for dessert here’s a tart from the Algarve, the southern province of Portugal. It includes the main ingredients of this region, which are the juiciest of the oranges and the sweetest of the almonds.
Hake fillets with a piquant pepper, parsley and wholemeal bread crust
Serves 4 people
4 fillets of hake (approx 750g)
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon
salt & pepper
8 piquant peppers
1 small bunch of parsley
4 slices of good quality wholemeal bread
4 bulbs of fennel
Pre-heat the 190 ºC.
Place the fillets on a baking dish, covered by the lemon juice, olive oil and season with salt & pepper. With a food processor, blitz the peppers, the parsley and the bread till it resembles well mixed crumbs. Cover each fillet with this mixture. Meanwhile, slice the fennel bulbs and place them in a baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt & pepper and together with the hake place them into the oven for 20 minutes.
Almond & Orange Tart with a cointreau crème fraiche
350g of good quality shortcrust pastry
150g of sugar
3 free range eggs
Juice & rind of 1 orange
170g of ground almonds
For the topping
150ml of crème fraîche
1tbsp of cointreau
Serves 8-10 people
Pre-heat the oven at 190 ºC.
Roll out the shortcrust pastry on a clean and lightly floured surface. Place it in a 23cm diameter tart tin and bake blind for 15 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and let it cool.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar. Add the juice and rind of the orange and the ground almonds and whisk well. Transfer this mixture to the tart tin and bake it in the oven for 20 minutes, until the tart is golden and dry. Remove from oven and let it cool completely. Before serving, dust on top with icing sugar.
Whisk the crème fraîche with the cointreau. Serve individual slices of the tart with a spoonful of crème fraîche on top.