In Spain, merluza or hake is widely used in the kitchen but any other white fish will do—like angler fish or cod. If you can, buy the whole fish, ask the fishmonger to cut into medallions and to include the head and tail to make stock.
• 2 pounds hake
• 1 pint fish stock
• 1 onion
• 10 to 12 saffron threads
• Flour and egg for batter
• 1 tablespoon flour
• Olive oil
• Flaked almonds and dried basil, for garnish
1. Chop the onion in strips and place in a pan with the fish head and tail. Cover with water. Bring to the boil. Season and cook over a medium heat.
2. Soak the saffron in a little of the stock.
3. Coat the fish in flour, dip in beaten egg and fry in hot abundant olive oil.
4. Drain the fish on kitchen paper.
5. Leave a little oil in the pan and add the flour. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Mix in the saffron and add the stock a little at a time until the sauce thickens. Season to taste and simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes.
6. Add the fish and cook for a further ten minutes.
7. Serve with toasted flaked almonds and dried basil.
Theresa O'Shea is a British freelance journalist who lives in the south of Spain and adores Spanish cooking.
Click here for the main article, Grow, Cook and Heal with Saffron.