Monday, April 29, 2013

Merluza, Spanish Style

In Spanish, this fish is known by the melodic name merluza.

Merluza is part of a big fish family that includes whiting, cod and pollack.  Here we call it hake.   While each fish is different based on its home waters, the various fillets can be prepared in a similar manner. 

Next time you see whiting or hake on sale here, enjoy this simple, pure recipe inspired by Spain’s distinct and balanced ingredients of olives, peppers and oranges.  For very little effort you can create a sophisticated yet approachable fish dish. 

As a bonus round, this cooked fish tastes wonderful in a taco for lunch the next day.  Just pile the hot leftovers into a warmed corn or flour tortillas with its accompanying olives, red peppers and scallions.  Fill in with lettuce and enjoy. 

Iberian Hake
Serves 4
Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound hake fillet (cod or pollack may be substituted)
1 orange, scrubbed and quartered
1 lemon, scrubbed and quartered
3-4 scallions, sliced
¼ cup olives (mixed or your favorite)
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup fresh parsley (or dill) chopped

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F while you prepare vegetables and fruit. 
  2. Coat bottom of a pie plate or small roasting pan with olive oil.  
  3. Place fish fillet in pan and scatter orange lemon, scallions and olives over fish.  Finish with a dusting of red pepper flakes.  
  4. Roast fish covered at 400˚F for 15 minutes.  Uncover and roast another 5-10 minutes, just until fish firms up and begins to flake.  Do not overcook.  
  5. Garnish with parsley just before serving.