I’m a huge fish-eater. If I had my way, I would prefer to skip meat entirely and just stick to seafood. Sometimes I fantasize about living in a small, Mediterranean village with daily access to the freshest local catch, the smell of garlic in the air, a glass of crisp white wine in hand………..but until that happens, I stick to one of a couple trusted fishmongers nearby and Whole Foods. I appreciate knowing exactly where my fish comes from (and how it was caught, if possible), and this particular hake swam in local waters. The fishmonger told me that hake is a white, flaky fish very similar to cod, and is sometimes what you actually receive when you order a beloved local favorite, “baked schrod,” on a menu in Massachusetts.
Baked schrod always reminds me of my paternal grandmother–it was her favorite meal. On those Saturday nights that my parents needed a break and my brother and I had a sleepover at Grammy and EJ’s house, the schedule was set: church, followed by dinner at Verona’s where Grammy always ordered the baked schrod. Even though I mostly remember Shirley Temples from my meals, I eventually followed in Grammy’s footsteps and am a huge lover of baked or broiled white fish, with a rich breadcrumb and buttery topping.
This recipe follows the same principles as a typical baked schrod, but has a much heartier topping that is bulked up with mushrooms and, believe it or not, uses NO butter!
Hake Bake Serves 2
3/4 lb. hake fillet or other flaky white fish such as cod or haddock
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, chopped into 1/4 inch slices
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp. fresh minced thyme
handful of panko breadcrumbs
extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
Heat oven to 350. Gently saute the shallot in a few tablespoons of olive oil for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms soften slightly.
Remove pan from the heat, and toss in a generous handful of panko, combining with the mushroom mixture. If mixture appears dry, add a little more oil.
Place the fish on a baking sheet. Completely cover the fillet with the mushroom panko mixture, packing down with the back of a spoon. Don’t waste any of this delicious topping! Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. I recommend that serving one side starch or vegetable with this is plenty.
Stay tuned for next week’s autumnal blogging extravaganza: pumpkin beer, a special Sunday dinner, apple cider–my favorite food season has arrived!