Fish Man came up trumps the other day with a whole hake in the back of his little van. It was rather large, too much for just Big Man and me, so as it was fresh it went into the freezer.
A few days later friends were coming over for lunch, and the sun promised to shine, so I decided to barbecue it. A quick visit to the garden to gather mint and lemons, and out into the olive grove for the tops of the wild fennel which is everywhere, and I was set.
I had to gut and clean the fish, but if you´re buying from a fishmonger, I´m sure it will be cleaned for you. It´s not that tricky (wear kitchen gloves though, or you´ll smell like a hake for the rest of the day!) but not for the squeamish.
Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper and salt the inside slightly. Stuff it with bunches of herbs and thin slices of lemons, then sprinkle the outside with coarse sea salt. No oil needed, but the salt will protect the fish and you´ll end up with lovely charred skin which I personally love to eat, but I know some people don´t.
Then it´s on to the barbecue for your hake. We cooked it on a low heat and the lid on for about 15 minutes in total. If you do use hake, but you could do this with pretty much any fish, it´s firm, so easy to turn when it´s half done. Check it´s cooked by peeking inside – the flesh will be white when it´s ready.
I served this with a delicious salad which was so beautifully coloured, it didn´t matter that the sun went in and a big cloud hovered over us all through lunch! I used chopped new boiled potatoes, cooked beetroot, oranges, thin slices of raw carrot and chopped chives. I made a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, mustard powder, a clove of garlic, salt and pepper.
Food for a sunny, or not so sunny day!