Merluza a la vasca (basque hake)

Discover just how tasty hake can be with Simon Rimmer's flavourful recipe for a traditional Basque fish dish
By Simon Rimmer
Merluza a la vasca (basque hake)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • flour, for coating
  • black pepper
  • 900 g hake steaks, cut into large chunks
  • olive oil, for shallow-frying
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 clove garlic, chopped
  • 225 ml fresh fish stock
  • 225 ml white wine
  • 12 asparagus
  • 12 small fresh clams
  • 12 live mussels
  • 100 g fresh or frozen peas
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and halved
  • juice of 1 lemons
  • 50 g chilled butter

To serve:

  • chopped parsley
  • lemon wedges


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.2. Season the flour with salt and freshly ground pepper. Coat the hake pieces in the seasoned flour.3. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Add in the hake and fry for 1 minute each side.4. Place the fried hake in a single layer in an ovenproof dish.5. Add the onion and garlic to the frying pan and fry gently until softened. Layer the fried onion and garlic over the hake. 6. Add the fish stock and white wine to the frying pan, scraping the pan with a spatula to deglaze the pan. Bring to the boil and cook briskly until reduced by a third.7. Pour the fish stock mixture over the fish and layer the asparagus on top.8. Press the clams and mussels into the gaps between the hake. Cover the dish with kitchen foil and bake for 8 minutes.9. Add the peas and halved eggs to the hake. Bake for 2 more minutes.10. Carefully strain the hake cooking juices into a pan. Bring to the boil and reduce by half.11. Add in the lemon juice and whisk in the butter to make a smooth sauce.12. Divide the hake mixture among 4 serving plates. Spoon over the sauce, sprinkle with parsley and serve at once with lemon wedges.

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