Hake a la Plancha with Aubergine Fritters

  • For the Romesco sauce
  • 2 dried nora peppers or small jar of roasted peppers
  • 250g vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 25g whole blanched almonds
  • 25g skinned hazelnuts
  • 1 x 15g slice crustless white bread
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the Aubergine Fritters
  • 1 large aubergine (approximately 200g)
  • 100g plain flour
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for deep-frying
  • 150ml cold water
  • 2 egg whites
  • Clear honey, for drizzling
  • Fine sea salt
  • For the Hake a la Plancha
  • 4 x 180g fillet of hake, with the skin left on
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil

For the Romesco sauce:

1. Slit open the dried peppers and discard the stalks and seeds. Cover them with boiling water and leave them to soak for 2 hours.

2. Turn the grill onto a high heat. Halve the tomatoes and place them skin-side up on a lightly oiled baking tray. Grill them for about 5 minutes, until the skins are black and the flesh is cooked.

3. Remove the skins, drop them into a food processor and leave them to cool.

4. Put the olive oil into a frying pan over a medium heat, add the almonds, hazelnuts and fry until they are golden brown. Remove them using a slotted spoon and put them onto a plate and leave them to cool.

5. Add the slice of bread and the garlic to the pan and again fry them until they are golden brown. Set them aside with the nuts and leave them to cool.

6. Scrape the flesh from the soaked peppers with a spoon and discard the skins. Add this to the food processor with the fried nuts, bread, garlic, sherry vinegar and any leftover oil from the frying pan.

7. Blend using the pulse button into a coarse paste and then season to taste.

For the Aubergine Fritters:

1. Cut the aubergine across into 7-8mm thick slices. Sprinkle each slice lightly on both sides with salt and set aside for 30 minutes.

2. Sift the flour into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add 5 tablespoons of the oil and the water and season it with salt. Gradually beat it together to make a smooth batter. Set aside to rest, alongside the aubergines.

3. Pat the aubergine slices dry with kitchen paper. Pour 1 centimetre of olive oil into a large deep frying pan and heat it to 180°C.

4. Whisk the egg whites into soft peaks and fold them into the batter. Dip the aubergine slices a few at a time into the batter; add them to the hot oil and deep fry for 1 minute on each side until crisp and golden. Leave to drain on kitchen paper.

For the Hake:

1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan to medium heat, big enough to accommodate the hake. Salt and pepper the fish and place in the pan with the skin side down.

2. Keep cooking for 4 minutes, you will see how the fish is changing colour to white, turn over the fish and keep cooking until it is ready, this will take about 2 minutes, depending on how thick the piece of fish is.

3. To serve, warm your plates through and put a spoonful of the romesco sauce in the middle, put two pieces of fritters on top of the sauce and drizzle some honey on top and place the fish on top. Put some more sauce and a drizzle of oil on top and around the plate.

Recipe courtesy of Jose Pizarro

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