Spanish Hake and Clams in Salsa Verde

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READY IN: 2hrs 20mins
Recipe by Raquel Grinnell

From Spainrecipes.com; this is a classic dish called Merluza y Almejas En Salsa Verde that my abuela used to prepare; a recipe that is one of the front-runners of traditional Basque cooking. Salsa verde appears in many dishes: with clams alone, with monkfish or fresh cod, or with a combination of clams and hake, as in this recipe. Hake, a noble and expensive fish when caught in Cantabria's local waters and in the Bay of Biscay, is also available in the United States at good fish markets, where it is sometimes imported from Chile. Basque hake is better if you can find it: the flesh is tighter and tastier, and the skin is darker and very shiny. Prep time includes the time to purge the clams of their sand.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Scrub the clams under cold running water, discarding any that fail to close to the touch. In a large bowl, combine the clams, coarse salt, and water to cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours so that the clams release any sand trapped in their shells. Drain.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the clams with the 4 cups water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they open. As the clams cook, uncover the pan occasionally and stir with a wooden spoon to encourage them all to open at about the same time. Drain the clams, reserving the cooking liquid. Discard any clams that have not opened.
  3. In a large cazuela, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, if using, and fry, stirring often, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the garlic begins to turn golden. Sprinkle the flour over the garlic and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is well blended. Add 3 cups of the reserving cooking liquid and the salt, parsley and wine. Decrease the heat to medium and boil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly. Add more cooking liquid if you prefer a thinner sauce. Rotate the cazuela in circular motions over the burner to mix all the ingredients, and boil gently for 2 minutes, or until the sauce is blended and looks whitish green.
  4. Sprinkle the hake pieces with the salt and place in a single layer in the sauce. Cook, turning once, for 2 minutes on each side, or until opaque at the center when tested with a knife tip. Add the clams and asparagus, shake the pan gently to prevent sticking, and simmer for 2 more minutes so heat all the ingredients through.
  5. Garnish with the egg wedges and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately.

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