Braised Hake with Mussels & Saffron Potatoes on Rapini Leaves

I am so busy now that I literally have no time to blog nor cook at home. Making udon noodles with miso soup doesn’t count as “cooking”. I haven’t been grocery shopping in two weeks (I usually went 2-3 times a week) and I haven’t been spending time at home that much either. I only come home to sleep and shower. Oh my god. I want a two-day weekend again! I now always look forward to Sundays because that’s my only day off from everything.

June seems to be everyone’s busy + very stressful month. I have a lot of things going on simultaneously (work, internship, school, moving, and looking for other jobs). For now, I’m going to try and post something new every Sunday because that’s the only day that I have to myself. When school is over, I think I’ll get more time again. Six more class days, then my final exam in culinary school, then graduation, then OVER!!!! I can’t wait to finish school.

I wanted to recreate the braised cod at home but:

  • Whole Foods Market (UWS) didn’t have cod today
  • I didn’t want to buy one link of chorizo
  • My kitchen isn’t very equipped, compared to school
  • Why are clams so much more expensive than mussels? Clams in Hong Kong are dirt cheap and there are hundreds of varieties. However, there are no fresh mussels in Hong Kong.

The only thing that I liked from the school’s dish is the use of saffron in the potatoes because it brings a bright neon yellow to the finished dish.

*I used the leftover potato scraps and mussel liquor to make extra flavorful clam chowder.

[100% organic, wild hake]

For the Mussel Liquor Braising Liquid

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • A few springs of thyme
  • A few stems of parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • Olive oil

*If making fresh chicken stock, take 4 cups/1 quart out and keep warm. Refrigerate the rest.

Warm up chicken stock and set aside. Wash mussels well, soak in salted water for 15 minutes, rinse and drain well. Remove beards.

Heat up a sauteuse, do not add any oil at first. Once it is very hot, add in the mussels and garlic. Toss for a few seconds. Add in a few splashes of olive oil then add in the herbs and pour in the dry white wine. Do not season with salt or pepper.

Continue to toss/shake the pan with the lid on and allow mussels to steam for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a colander. Remove mussels from their shells, saving 4 shells. Strain mussel liquor through a fine chinois and add that to the warmed chicken stock. This mixture of mussel liquor and chicken stock is the braising liquid for the fish and seasoning liquid for the potatoes and rapini.

For the Potatoes

  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Small pinch of saffron
  • Water, as needed

Peel, then cut potatoes into small squares and put them into a small pot with a small pinch of saffron. Pour water so that water covers potatoes completely.

Boil potatoes under tender. Since potatoes are so small, cooking takes a short time. Do not overcook potatoes. Set aside.

For the Fish & Broccoli Rabé

  • 4 hake fillets, skinless (the thicker parts/not tail portions)
  • 4 cups broccoli rabé leaves, packed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Parsley leaves, thinly sliced
  • Reserved braising liquid
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

In a pot of salted water, blanch broccoli rabé leaves and then plunge into iced water with ice. Squeeze out excess water from leaves and set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE

In a sauteuse, pour in half of the braising liquid and bring to a low simmer. Season hake fillets with salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. Braise fish until done. Time will vary depending on thickness of fish. In a small pan, sauté minced garlic with broccoli rabé leaves. Moisten with some braising liquid. In another pan, add in saffron potatoes with the saffron water, mussels, 4 shells, and some braising liquid. Heat until simmering.

Plate broccoli rabé in a bowl, creating a bed, then place hake on top of broccoli rabé leaves. Carefully pour saffron potatoes and mussels over fish. Garnish with parsley and one mussel sitting in its shell on top of the fish.

*Adapted from The French Culinary Institute.

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