Hake a la Marinera (Merluza)

1 whole hake, boned but not skinned (merluza, deshuesada y con piel)
Olive Oil (aceite de oliva)
1 onion (cebolla)
3 cloves garlic (ajo)
salt (sal)
1 glass white wine (vino blanco)
250g clams, soaked in salted water to remove any sand (chirlas o almejas)
8 peppercorns (granos de pimienta)
200g red prawns or shrimps, peeled (gambas rojas)
Saffron threads (hebras de azafrán)
Handful of almonds (un puño de almendras)
Fresh parsley (perejil fresco)
Freshly grated nutmeg (nuez moscada, rallada)
Flour (harina)
4 tablespoons fried tomato (tomate frito)

Head, tail and hake bones, for stock (adding a few shrimp heads will give a stronger flavour); cabeza, cola, espinas merluza y unas pocas cabezas de gambas, aunque ésta última le dará un sabor más fuerte al caldo
1 leek (puerro)
1 onion (cebolla)
1 carrot (zanahoria)
1 bayleaf, 2 cloves, salt and water (laurel, clavos, sal y agua)

To make the stock, simply place all the stock ingredients in a large casserole. Fill the casserole with water, bring to the boil, skim then simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve.

Now fry a handful of almonds with a clove of garlic.
Liquidize in a jug, together with fresh parsley and a ladle of the stock. Reserve.

Finely chop the onion and remaining garlic cloves and fry them in olive oil in a large, shallow casserole.
Lightly salt and flour the hake pieces and seal them in the same pan.
Add the glass of white wine.
After a couple of minutes, add the liquidized almond mixture, the fried tomatoes (tomate frito), the peppercorns, saffron and enough strained stock to cover.
Add salt to taste and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.
Simmer gently for 7-10 minutes, then add the rinsed clams and peeled prawns or shrimps.
Simmer for a further 3-5 minutes until the clams are open and the prawns or shrimps are cooked.

Serve with either plain rice or chips.


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