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So - I usually get more unusual fish, but Hake is a reasonably sustainable white fish and a great alternative to cod.
Fish, as almost always, purchased from Ballycotton Seafoods in the English Market.
Normally poached with lemon I just wanted to do something a little different - and saw some frozen Wakame in Jia Jia Chinese supermarket on the Coal Quay / Cornmarket Street in Cork city - so that sort of started this recipe.
The flaky hake, rich risotto and moist mushroom sauce make this a real texture as well as flavour dish.
Wakame is a wickedly good seaweed, sweet when cooked which offsets the sharper citrus and wine notes in this recipe. Spinach is a great compliment to it.
Sincere thanks to Krystine for the great photo BTW.
So, this is really a dish in three parts - the seaweed risotto, the mushroom sauce and the fish.
I'll start with the risotto, it takes the longest - about 20 to 25 minutes.
FOR THE RISOTTO:
Half a liter fish or vegetable stock as appropriate
1 small knob of butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion , finely chopped
2 cloves garlic , finely chopped
200 g risotto rice
1 glass dry white wine
salt and pepper
About 50 g Parmesan cheese , freshly grated
Spinach, fresh or frozen - a good handful
Wakame seaweed - fresh or frozen - chopped added at the end
Samphire also a good addition to throw in at the end
A great addition is frozen prawns or mussles.
Make the stock from a cube, or frozen, make sure its warm.
In a separate heavy pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic (you can also add celery) and sweat gently 5 - 10 minutes without colouring.
When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.
The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring until the wine has evaporated.
Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside.
Keep adding ladles of stock, stirring the rice gently, allowing each ladle to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes.
Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully.
If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.
Remove from the heat and add the defrosted and chopped seaweed and spinach, stir to mix well and show off those colours.
Now add Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 5 minutes for the greens to heat through.
This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes creamy.
FOR THE MUSHROOM SAUCE
Sliced button Mushrooms
Dash white wine
Quick and easy. In a pan or pot, throw in a knob of butter and gently sweat a handful of sliced button mushrooms in a dash of wine, season with salt and pepper.
When they are soft, but not browned, and the wine is absorbed/evaporated use a tablespoon of flour to create a basic roux.
Add the cream and allow to thicken - if it goes too thick, add milk to thin it out.
I find a good pinch of dill in the sauce really adds to the dish.
FOR THE HAKE (or other meaty whitefish)
Have a plate or lid for the pan.
Dash of dry white wine
Heat a mixture of olive oil and butter in a pan - don't brown or burn the butter.
Unsalted butter is best for this.
Dust the fish portions in seasoned flour and add to the pan.
Start skin side down and fry until crispy, then turn.
Now, add a dash of white wine and a good belt of lemon juice and cover the pan, allow to poach for 3-4 minutes
Plate up and serve.
And once again, Happy new year from Delaney and myself (Molly was shy)