I never eat fish here, any seafood for that matter. It’s sad and not by choice. You’d think with BA being on the coast that it would be full of fresh seafood, but it’s not. ¿Por qué? Explanation, por favor! The best selection is in barrio chino, but everything is so unfamiliar that I get intimidated and don’t buy anything. I need to conquer that fear.
Yesterday while picking up some chorizo y pollo at the carniceria I noticed some fish filets in the display case, something most carnicerias don’t carry. The kind man told me it was merluza (um, what?), a popular white fish here in BA for 18 pesos a kilo. I was feeling spontaneous with too much coffee in my system and didn’t think twice about it. I arrived home very excited and immediately jumped online to see what this mystery fish was. Turns out merluza is hake, a fish I have never used or heard of. Challenge!
I wanted to keep it simple since I have a loooong day in the kitchen ahead of me prepping for a private event. Well, that and the kitchen was spotless.
Broiled hake over brown rice pilaf & a baby mushroom white wine sauce.
6 filets of hake, cleaned and deboned
2 packs of little baby mushrooms cleaned and tips trimmed
1/3 bottle of sauvignon blanc, the only white i like
1-2 lemons, zest & juice
2 onions, small & medium dice
2 garlic cloves, rough chop
splash of cream
salt & pepper
I started with the rice since it would take the longest. Heat the pot with a little oil and add 1 onion cut in small dice and cook over medium heat til soft. Add the brown rice and toast for a minute before adding your water. With brown rice I use 1 part rice to 1.75 water. Throw in a big pinch of sea salt, lid on, and set the timer for 30 minutes.
For the mushroom wine sauce I used a shallow wide pan for maximum surface area. I started by sauteing the medium diced onion with a mix of olive oil and butter on a low heat.
While that’s cooking make your marinade for the fish: lemon zest and juice of one lemon, 1 TBS of melted butter, 1-2 TBS of olive oil, a dash of paprika and pepper. Lay the filets on a baking sheet and evenly coat the fish with the marinade. Set aside.
Back to the mushroom wine sauce. Give your onions a quick stir, add the garlic and a pinch of salt. Lid back on. KEEP AN EYE ON THE FLAME. You don’t want your pan or the garlic to burn. After 10 minutes remove the lid and increase the flame. You want your pan HOT for the mushrooms. Add the shrooms and give the pan a shake every so often while they’re cooking.
Mushrooms release A LOT of liquid when cooking. Once the liquid evaporates add your wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any sucs that may have formed. Place the lid back on, salt your fish and toss them in the broiler. Set timer for 8 minutes.
Check the rice. If it’s ready, turn off the flame and set aside with the lid still on.
Add the cream to the mushroom wine sauce along with a scoop of butter and mix well to incorporate. Season with salt & pepper and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the chives, parsley, and juice of one lemon. Mix well and check seasoning. Adjust if necessary.
Season the rice with salt & pepper and fluff with a fork. Normally I’m TERRIBLE at cooking rice. I don’t know if I use too much water, or not enough, but I always end up burning the pan and having a dry crusty layer stuck to the bottom. Not this time!
Remove the fish from the broiler and check to see if it’s cooked thoroughly. If so, it’s time to plate. I placed a small mountain of rice in the center of the plate with a BIG spoonful of sauce right on top. Fish filet on top of the mountain followed by more sauce, and baby mushrooms along the side.
Since I hadn’t had a vegetable in days I served a VERY basic salad on the side; chopped green leaf lettuce (lechuga francesa) with a dressing made of honey, lemon, apple vinegar and olive oil. Don’t forget to season your salads with salt & pepper!
- I came across this great website Fish Names in 7 Languages. Very cool!
- As much as I enjoyed my fish dinner, I’m not crazy about merluza. And I guess that’s pretty understandable considering I only paid 18 pesos ($4.50) and fed three people and still have a couple pieces left over in the freezer. Next time, I’m frying it and making po boys!
- Oh yea, I don’t measure anything when I cook. These measurements are ball park range and can be altered according to your liking.