Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Prosciutto Wrapped Hake Filet & French Green Lentils

Whole Foods on South St. has been running an on-again/off-again sale on Hake for 8.99/#

I've used the fish as a cheaper alternative to cod when I do tapas, but I'd never cooked the fillet whole.

A friend of ours recently gave us a cookbook for Christmas of recipes from the C.I.A. that highlighted Hake...wrapped in prosciutto and served atop French green lentils. Elizabeth's recently tried lentils served in this manner from Cochon and they made for a great side, so that sealed the deal on this recipe.

We still had a little less than an eighth of a pound of prosciutto hanging around from the weekend that we'd picked up at DiBruno Bros., which was just enough to wrap two fillets.

First we started the lentils, also from the bulk section of Whole Foods. Sauteed a quick mirepoix of carrot, onion, celery & celery leaves in butter, then threw in the lentils, covered with vegetable stock and brought to boil then simmer. Leave that alone for 5 minutes the recipe said.

5 minutes? Some varities of lentils CAN cook that fast, but there was no way5 minutes could be correct...them I re-read the recipe and saw the lentils should have been cooked before adding to the broth & mirepoix mixture. 25 minutes longer than I had anticpated, the lentils were still firm, but had soaked up the hearty & buttery flavor from the soup-starter that is a good mirepoix.

The fish itself couldn't have been easier. The hardest part was peeling off the sheets of prosciutto without destroying them. Wrapped and into a skillet on medium heat, I kept a watchful eye on the fish, only turning them once.

Waiting for the lentils gave Elizabeth plenty of time to whip up a salad of goat cheese, blackberry & walnuts. With tomatos drizzled in olive oil and the cheese dusted with grated toasted walnut, the salad had both oily nuttiness and tangy acidity.

Here's the finished product. The hake is riding high on a wave of lentils. True to form, the prosciutto had shielded the fish from drying out and given back some of it's cured flavor to the moist white flakes of the hake.

The lemons not only married with the fish, but brightened up theeartier, richer flavors of the lentils.

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