Dinner à Deux: Pan fried hake with clams & asparagus


I had a new cook book for Christmas : Rick Stein Fish & Shellfish, and this is my first attempt at recreating anything from it.

imageIt’s a great book- lots of advice on preparing fish, plus alternatives for the fish used in each recipe, which is always handy.  The lovely chaps at Ashton’s Fishmongers in Cardiff Market filleted a whole hake for me (although they do sell hake portions) and I kept the loin for this recipe and popped the tails in the freezer for future use. This was a great ‘prepare ahead’ recipe’ which only took 8 minutes cooking time last night. (Note: I adapted the recipe to serve 2 people, and I also tweaked it slightly – just in case Rick is reading).

I’m going to do a bit of a ‘Julie & Julia’ and try to work through all the recipes, watch this space for future efforts.


(serves 2)

2 x 200g pieces of skinned hake, about 2 cm thick


100g asparagus tips

125g frozen peas

plain flour for dusting, plus 1tbsp

6 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

150g shallots, finely chopped

125ml dry white wine

100ml fish stock

125g small clams, washed

Chopped parsley to garnish

salt and freshly ground pepper


Season the hake generously on both sides with salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes. Wash well in cold water and pat dry. Chill until ready to cook.

Cook the asparagus tips in salted, boiling water for 2 minutes only then add the peas, bring back to the boil, drain and cool rapidly under the cold tap. When cool, drain and set aside until ready to use.

When ready to cook, lightly season the hake and dust with flour, shaking off the excess. Heat 4 tbs olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the hake and cook for 2 minutes on either side until golden brown but not cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Wipe the pan clean, add the remaining oil and gently fry the shallot and garlic over a medium heat being careful not to allow the garlic to burn. Cook until gently golden, then stir in a tablespoon of flour, combine well and cook for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the white wine and stock, stirring continuously until a smooth sauce is achieved.

Bring to a simmer, return the hake to the pan, add the clams, scatter over the vegetables, cover and cook for 3 minutes until all the clams are open. Discard any clams that don’t open after this time.

Arrange on warm plates or bowls and sprinkle generously with parsley.