Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hake with Hazelnuts and Capers

It's not often that I get to experiment with new varieties of fish.  But when I picked up the trout fillets the other day I asked the fishmonger for suggestions on what was particularly fresh and he suggested either the lemon sole or the hake.  I decided that we had never made hake (and we have made sole before), so why not go with the hake.  I was originally planning on using the hake instead of cod in this Roasted Cod on Large Garlic Croutons recipe, but decided to stick with this recipe instead because we had everything we needed at the apartment.  Plus we had a ton of hazelnuts that I picked up for another recipe and never used, so it just made sense.  So it seemed like the perfect fit.  But the recipe was just kinda... ok.  The fish was beautifully cooked and I liked the texture of the toasted hazelnuts, but I thought the red wine vinegar and the capers would give it more pizzazz.  And they just kind of got lost.  After the brightness of the trout, it couldn't quite compare.  Overall I thought it was a nicely-cooked piece of fish that needed some acidity and also needed something else to really make it shine.  I'm not sure what I would add to the recipe to make it stand out more (maybe some lemon zest in the hazelnut mixture?) but I would definitely need to make some serious changes before making it again. 

Recipe after the jump!

Hake with Hazelnuts and Capers
January 2009

1/2 cup hazelnuts
4 (6-ounces) pieces hake fillet
2 tbsp evoo
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp drained bottled small (nonpareil) capers
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pulse hazelnuts in food processor until finely chopped.

Pat fish dry and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Saute fish, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a platter.

Melt butter in skillet, then sauté hazelnuts with garlic until nuts are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add vinegar and water, scraping up any brown bits, then remove from heat and stir in capers and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, then spoon over fish.


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