Fresh hake is a highly regarded fish in Basque cuisine, used in many classic Spanish dishes and a staple fish product for the region and Spain in general. You pay top dollars for fresh line caught Cantábrico hake, which is sadly a rare find these days. Top quality hake or merluza as it is known in Spanish, is a fleshy fish, very meaty with a slight pink colour to it. It cooks well in sauces but also works well fried, grilled or on the barbecue, especially if cooked on the bone. Merluza a la romana is a classic fish dish in Spain. A la romana means ‘roman style’ but in reality is the cooking method of dipping the hake in flour and egg before frying in oil until golden brown. It is almost the Spanish fish and chips version. I grew up on this dish, classically served with a green salad of lettuce, spring onion, olive oil and cider vinegar, it also works really well with sweet roasted red peppers. This recipe is a slight twist on the classic merluza a la romana by using a tempura batter mix which makes the fish incredibly crispy and light, the stewed red peppers add earthiness and sweetness to the dish. Perfect Friday dish, with a glass of fizzy txakoli. On egin!
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