Salt hake brandade with piquillo, thyme and orange oil
350g hake, bones removed and skin on
100g Maldon sea salt
200ml full cream milk
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic cut into 3
150ml light extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper and lemon juice for seasoning
Peeled zest of 2 oranges
500ml light extra virgin olive oil
½ bunch thyme plus extra for garnish
A familiar dish on the Andalucian tapa circuit- smokey piquillo peppers stuffed with salted and whipped fish- it’s a classic and doused in the vibrant orange oil-thyme oil its given a real hit of sunshine.
Hake is fast becoming my go to white, meaty fish. Its still underused in the UK but the clever, fish focused Spaniards have been championing it for decades. It mainly has all the attributes of cod (I’d say it’s sweeter and perhaps a little less firm) and is one of the most sustainable fish on the planet.
- First make the oil. heat the oil in a saucepan to warm (don’t boil) add the zest and continue to warm for 10 minutes before transferring to a jar or lidded container and then adding the thyme.
- Cover and then leave to steep for at least
4 hours. This will make more than you need for this recipe but can be used for dressing many things such as salads, vegetables and fish.
- Place the cod in a bowl, pour over the salt and massage into the fish.
- Leave to “salt” for 3 hours in the fridge, turning once and then desalinate-by washing off the salt for a few minutes under cold, running water.
- Pat the fish dry and then place in a sauce pan with the milk, garlic, anise and bay.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for 8 minutes to cook everything through before turning off the heat.
- Leave everything to cool before removing the fish and garlic and placing in a bowl.
- Take off the fish skin and mash the flesh and garlic together with a fork, adding some of the milk as you go to moisten (only a few splashes, you don’t want it too wet) now slowly pour in the olive oil, stirring quickly as you go to emulsify the paste and oil to create the brandada.
- Season with black pepper and lemon juice and then stuff the brandada into the pepper cavities- to completely fill.
- Chill the stuffed peppers in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving, drizzled with the orange-thyme oil and a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves.
Charred hispi cabbage with smoked bacon
1 large or two small hispi cabbages
50g quality smoked streaky bacon, cut into lardons
1 rosemary stalk- leaves picked and chopped
30g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
Olive oil, sea salt and black pepper for cooking
Hispi cabbages are all the rage – the conical shaped brassica are packed with nutrients and are deliciously sweet.
Lightly charring the leaves with the addition of crunchy sea is really interesting way of preparing the cabbages and adds a nice foil to the sweetness.
I like to do this over a BBQ for some real smokiness but a griddle pan will do the job just fine.
- Heat a BBQ or griddle pan to a medium heat.
- Quarter the hispi cabbage lengthwise and remove the hard, internal core with a sharp knife.
- Peel off the layers of the leaves and toss them with a little olive and season well with Maldon salt and black pepper
- Workings in batches throw the leaves onto the grill and cook them briskly until lightly charred. This will be a quick process and you need to stay with the cabbage, turning with tongs to stop over burning.
- Reserve the leaves in a serving bowl and cover with cling film.
- Heat a small sauté pan over a medium heat and add a lug of olive oil.
- Sweat the pancetta and rosemary until lightly browned, add the butter and cook until it turns light brown and foamy.
- Stir in the vinegar, season well and then pour over the cabbage.