This is a great mid-week supper recipe – quick and easy but a real show stopper. I use frozen hake and clams as I don’t have a good fishmonger on hand for during the week. It is wonderful during the asparagus season when you have an abundance of fresh asparagus and run out of ideas to use it up – but otherwise just use a packet of slimmed stemmed asparagus and frozen peas. All it needs with it is some good bread – sourdough or a rustic baguette is good.
Serves: 3 (to serve 4 just add another hake fillet)
2 tbsp olive oil
a few strands of saffron (gives the sauce a lovely colour)
Half an onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp plain flour
200 ml white wine
150 ml fish stock (try of use fresh if possible)
3 fillets of skinless hake (I use Waitrose frozen hake fillets)- defrosted
100g frozen peas
125g asparagus tips
500g clams (I use Big and Juicy white clams as they are sustainably sourced)- defrosted
small bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped
Blanch the asparagus in a pan of salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain a refresh in cold water to hold the green colour. Set a side.
In a large wide pan heat the olive oil, when it is hot add the saffron and onion and sweat until it the onion is soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and fry for a minute or two until that is softened as well. Add the flour and stir into the mixture in the pan, cook gently for two minutes so that the flour is cooked but not coloured. Gradually add the wine, whisking all the time to get a smooth sauce. Cook the wine mixture for a couple of minutes to drive off the alcohol, then gradually add the stock. Your sauce should now be smooth, tasty and pale yellow from the saffron.
Put the hake into the sauce, cover with a lid and leave to cook gently for 3 minutes – depending on the thickness of your fillets – it may need a little longer. Uncover and add the frozen peas and the clams to the pan and cover for another 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cover again for a minute or 2 until everything is hot. Taste and season the sauce as necessary.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve in deep warmed bowls with some bread on the side to dip in the sauce.