SERVES 4: Thick slices of hake poach to perfection in a fragrant garlic and saffron broth for a simple one-bowl meal.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Saffron is a beloved ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, and its distinctive aroma and bright yellow-orange color pair especially well with seafood. We set out to create a Spanish inspired seafood dish that highlighted this prized ingredient. Versatile hake is a favorite white fish in Spain, and its mild flavor was the perfect backdrop for the saffron. We created a flavorful saffron broth with aromatics, white wine, and clam juice in which we braised the fish, then ladled the broth over the fillets for serving. For additional flavor, we added spicy Spanish-style chorizo to the pan with the onions and sautéed the sausage until browned, lending a subtle heat and smoky flavor to the broth. Tasters thought the dish was delicious, but they wanted a starchy element in the mix to round out the meal. Waxy red potatoes, sliced into coins to mirror the slices of chorizo, brought in just the right creaminess to soak up the flavorful broth. A hit of lemon added brightness to the broth at the end of cooking, and a sprinkle of parsley and drizzle of olive oil on the flaky fish, swimming in the fragrant saffron liquid, brought it all together. Haddock and cod are good substitutes for the hake. Use small red potatoes measuring 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Serve with crusty bread to dip into the broth.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 3 ounces Spanish-style chorizo sausage, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
- 1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 ounces small red potatoes, unpeeled, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 (4- to 6-ounce) skinless hake fillets, 1 to 1½ inches thick
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and chorizo and cook until onion is softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and saffron and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in clam juice, water, wine, potatoes, and bay leaf and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.
- Pat hake dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Nestle hake skinned side down into skillet and spoon some broth over top. Bring to simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes are fully tender and hake flakes apart when gently prodded with paring knife and registers 140 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Carefully transfer hake to individual shallow bowls. Using slotted spoon, divide potatoes and chorizo evenly among bowls. Discard bay leaf. Stir lemon juice into broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon broth over hake, sprinkle with parsley, and drizzle with extra oil. Serve.