**Merluza y almejas en salsa verde** | Hake and Clams in Green Sauce — This is a typical Spanish recipe from the Basque region, one of the most celebrated Spanish regions for gastronomy. This traditional fish dish is made using hake which is regularly caught in the North of Spain.

Ingredients:

  • 24 Manila / small little neck Clams
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 4 cups of water
  • ⅓ cup Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1½ tsps salt
  • 2 tbsps fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 lbs hake fillet, cut into 16 pieces
  • Salt to season
  • 4 white asparagus shoots, freshly cooked or from a tin, halved crosswise
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered for garnish
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Scrub the clams under cold water and throw away any that are open. Then, put
    the clams and the coarse salt into a bowl and cover them with water. Allow to
    stand for at least 30 minutes and up to around 2 hours so that any excess sand is
    released. After this time, drain the clams.

  2. Put the 4 cups of water into a large saucepan and then add the clams.
    Bring the water to the boil over a medium-high heat. Cover the pan and cook the
    clams for about 5 minutes, or until the clams are all open. Stir the clams while
    they are cooking with a wooden spoon to help them to open at roughly the same time.

  3. Drain the clams but keep the cooking water. If any clams are still closed, get rid of them.

  4. In a very deep pan, heat the olive oil up on a high heat, then add the garlic and
    red pepper flakes (if you are using them). Fry the garlic and pepper for 1-2
    minutes, stirring constantly until the garlic starts turning golden in colour.

  5. Sprinkle the flour over the cooking garlic and mix well with a wooden spoon.

  6. Add 3 cups of the left over cooking water along with the salt, parsley and white wine.
    Turn the heat down to medium and boil the mixture for about 5 minutes, or until
    the sauce gets thicker, stirring occasionally. If you prefer a thinner sauce, you can always
    add more of the cooking water to the pan.

  7. Rotate the pan over the hob to mix all of the ingredients together and then boil
    the mixture for another 2 minutes. You will know that the sauce is ready when it is
    blended together and has a whitish green tinge.

  8. Sprinkle the salt over the pieces of hake fillet and then place in the sauce,
    making sure that they are in a single layer.

  9. Cook the hake for about 2 minutes on each side until the centre is no longer see through.

  10. Add the clams and the asparagus to the sauce and then shake the pan so
    the ingredients don't stick to it. Simmer the pan for a further 2 minutes so that
    everything is heated through.

  11. Garnish with the egg and fresh parsley and serve.


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