Portuguese-Style Baked Hake

I have mixed feelings about Portugal. Its record as a global colonial power, a major player in the slave trade, and a rapid follower of the Spanish Inquisition in the persecutions of Jews are all reasons to feel that they have been a “bad actor” over the last 500 years. On the other hand, as an American, I feel that our country’s record on these same issues is not much more meritorious, so we have no right to act “holier than thou”.

With those reservations clearly established, we can move on to the main focus of this blog, namely food and wine. I’ve been to Portugal twice — to the Algarve and Lisbon in 2014, and to Porto and the Douro Valley in 2019. Both trips were extremely gratifying, and they established Portuguese food and wine as one of my favorite ways to celebrate culinary excellence.

Today’s adventure involved Hake, a lovely white fish which is one of the specialties of Portuguese cuisine. I had purchased over a pound from Sven fish, so I had at least 2X what I normally cook, and I decided to share the bounty with good friends. Here’s the recipe:

The full recipe was enough for 4 people. After delivering my friend’s portion, I kept my fish on the counter at room temperature, and I had it ready to eat — after the appetizer. I still had 8 of the 12 Wellfleet oysters remaining from the rest of my Sven fish order. It was a great opportunity to re-create a dish I had enjoyed years ago: Warm Oysters with Fresh Tomato Curry.

It was spectacular — every bit as good as I remembered.

The tomato-flavored Hake dish was enhanced by a Portuguese wine, 2019 Taboadella Alfrocheiro.

The dish was served with roasted potato slices and a mixture of our own green beans and local farms’s wax beans. I would make this all again.

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