Saturday, 11 June 2011

Hake with cockles, bacon and leeks

I have just returned from Swansea market with some great food. I always like to go early, to avoid shoppers and to get the best produce. Its nice to go with a few ideas in mind but not with a list because the best way to shop is to be guided by what is fresh and seasonal. Today is a great example of this guiding principal as I chose some beautiful hake and some great goose rillettes from Paul at Goodies deli. I am a passionate supporter of Swansea market. Its what food shopping should be all about, lively and colouful with a great choice of high quality, good value produce. I think that you would halve your weekly shopping bill if you went to the market for your food and this is largely because you are not tempted by all the 'offers' in the supermarket. I think supermarkets have a place, and I do use them, but to do all your shopping in them seems crazy to me. Going to the supermarket is always an unpleasant experience but going to Swansea market is one of the highlights of my week. This dish was inspired by the market. I had a lovely, whole piece of hake (one of the great fish, in my opinion) and had it scaled and filleted for me. I will simply pan fry the fillets and serve it with a Welsh flavour, a cream sauce made with cockles, bacon and leek. Some new potatoes and the last of the asparagus will make it a beautiful and sustainable family meal.

Hake with cockles, bacon and leek sauce
1 whole hake, filleted and each fillet cut in half to make 4 portions
Head and bones of fish, simply simmered for 20 minutes with a bit of onion or leek top to make a stock
1 small leek, washed and finely sliced
1/2 rashers of streaky bacon, thick cut, and cut into dice
2 tbsp cockles
125ml cream
100ml white wine or vermouth
Butter or oil for frying

1) Fry the bacon until crisp and set aside. Make a  leek cream  sauce by sweating the leeks in butter and then adding the wine and let it reduce and add about 50ml of the stock and let that reduce by half. Now add the cream and bring to the boil.Turn down to simmer, add the bacon and cockles and set aside until you need it.
2)  Now its time to pan fry your hake. Get a non stick frying pan hot, put a little oil in, season the fish on both sides and put in the pan skin side down for 2 minutes. Don't be temted to move it until your ready to turn it over or it will ruin the lovely skin, and this you want to be crispy. Turn over and cook for another 2 minutes and then place on a warm plate with some of the sauce spooned over. Serve with new potatoes and seasonal vegatables or just a piece of bread and a simple salad.

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