Tournedos of Hake with a Courgette Puree and a Sauce of Fresh Squid

This method of preparing hake has always been a favourite of mine, although it works well with other fish such as haddock and cod it really is at it’s best when using hake. The way the salt in the ham reacts with the soft flaky texture of the hake and brings it together firming it up as it does, works wonders with hake as it can sometimes be very soft and loose making it difficult to handle. Other herbs, such as basil or even sage could replace the flat parsley.

8 portions

1.8-2kg/4 –4½lb hake fillet skinned and pin boned
125g/4½oz thinly sliced Parma ham or similar
140g/5oz flat parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 small squid about 85-115g/3-4oz each
1.3kg/3lb courgettes
4 shallots
1 clove garlic
45ml/1½floz olive oil
85g/3oz unsalted butter
125ml/4floz dry white wine
425ml/15floz fish stock
250ml/9floz whipping cream

The hake needs to be prepared 12 to 24 hours in advance.

On a sheet of aluminium foil lay out the slices of Parma ham to form a sheet about 6cm in from each side and about 24cm deep. Lay the leaves of parsley onto the ham to cover it from the sides to about half of its depth.

Cut the fillet of hake so that it fits the width of the ham, using the off cuts; place these down its length to even out the thickness of the fish. Lightly season the fish and roll into a tight cylinder about 7cm in diameter. Place this on one end of the ham and roll it in the ham and foil. Once rolled tie off the ends. At 1.5cm spacings tie a string around the roll as if tying up a fillet. This should give you 18 strings along a roll about 7cm wide by 34cm long. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Cut the roll into tournedos by allowing two strings for each tournedos; e.g. cut between every other string. This, assuming you started with 18 strings will give 9 tournedos.

Clean the squid cutting the body into strips and saving the tentacles separate. Cut these into pieces.

Cut all but two of the courgettes into quarters lengthways and remove the seed core and discard. Peel and finely slice the shallots. Peel and crush the garlic. In a saucepan heat 30ml/1floz of the oil, add the shallots and garlic to this, cover and sweat for a couple of minutes without browning. Add the courgette and season, cover and cook very quickly over a high heat without colouring and stirring often. The cooking of the courgettes will only take a matter of a couple of minutes, once soft then they are cooked. Transfer to a food processor immediately and process until smooth. Remove and spread on a tray to cool quickly.  Cut the remaining courgette into a very small but neat dice.

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan, when hot add 15g/½oz of the butter, lightly season the tournedos and place them cut side down in the pan and place into a hot oven for 4 minutes. Turn and return to the oven for a further 2 –3 minutes. The fish should now be lightly browned on both sides. Allow to rest in a warm place. 

In a saucepan bring the wine and fish stock to the boil and reduce until only 1/3rd remains. Add the cream, return to the boil and gradually add 55g/2oz the butter whisking continuously until melted. Add the strips of squid and the diced courgette and keep warm.

Warm the courgette puree through with the addition of a little cream. In a small pan heat the remaining butter, when sizzling add the reserved tentacles and season, fry these off very quickly, once they turn purple then remove them from the pan.

Place a spoon of the puree in the centre of each plate. Place a tournedos on this then spoon the sauce around. Top the tournedos with a little of the sautéed tentacles. 

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