Hake has a lovely soft texture and slight sweetness when it's very fresh. It's highly regarded by chefs, as it offers great value for money. Ask your fishmonger for the hake fillets from the centre cut so that they are nice and chunky. The combination of
- 60g (2¼oz) mixed dried beans (such as haricot, cannellini, borlotti and black-eyed beans)
- 2 tblsp rapeseed oil
- 100g (4oz) raw chorizo
- 150ml (¼ pint) vegetable stock
- 1 tblsp softened butter
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tsp snipped fresh chives
- 4x150g (5oz) skinless hake fillets, pin bones removed
- Red pepper gel (see link below), to garnish
- Basil purée (see link below), to garnish
- Red pepper foam (see link below), to garnish
- Fresh micro basil, to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).
- Place the beans in a large pan with plenty of water and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes, until tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the rapeseed oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the chorizo and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until sizzling. Remove the chorizo and drain on kitchen paper.
- Place the stock, the butter, the reserved cooked chorizo and the beans in a pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes, until warmed through. Season to taste and stir in the parsley and chives. Keep warm.
- Arrange the hake on a piece of parchment paper in a steamer. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and steam for 8-10 minutes, until just cooked and tender. The cooking time obviously depends on the thickness of the fish fillets.
- To serve, spoon the bean and chorizo cassoulet onto the centre of each warmed plate and arrange the hake on top, skin side up. Garnish with the red pepper gel and basil purée, then spoon over the pepper foam and scatter with the micro basil.
- Cook Ahead: The bean and chorizo cassoulet can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept covered with clingfilm in the fridge. Simply warm through when needed.
- Wine: Try an Albariño from Galicia, Spain, or a white Rioja, also from Spain.