Unfortunately for me, I am highly allergic to all mollusks. So in this case my lovely assistant Megan had to do the tasting and seasoning for me. I was assured that this dish was heaven on a plate and all that was needed to complete the dish was a glass of chilled Viognier, preferably, while sitting on a deck of a holiday home in Paternoster overlooking the ocean.
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
4 parsley stalks, roughly chopped
4 rashers streaky bacon, roughly chopped
Pinch of dried chili flakes
¾ cup (190ml) tomato passata (tomato puree)
1½ – 2 kg fresh mussels, cleaned
1 cup (250ml) white wine
500g hake fillet, skin removed, cut into bite size portions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Handful of extra parsley, roughly chopped (for garnish)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Serve with warm crispy baguette
Heat a little olive oil in a large pot and gently fry onion, garlic, celery, parsley stalks, and bacon for a couple of minutes or until onions are golden brown and bacon is cooked.
Add chilli and tomato passata and cook for 20 minutes over a low to medium heat.
Add mussels and wine and cover pot with lid.
Cook for a further 5-10 minutes or until mussels have steamed opened and are cooked.
Strain mussels and keep warm.
Return mussel stock to the stove and carefully add the hake.
Simmer for 5 minutes or until fish is just cooked. Be careful not to stir or shake the pot too much as hake is a delicate fish and will fall apart very easily.
Portion mussels into individual bowls and add hake and a couple of spoonfuls of the mussel broth.
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve immediately with lemon wedges and a crispy baguette for dipping into sauce.
This recipe was especially developed for Crush Online Magazine
Photographer: Henk Hattingh
Recipe and food styling: Luisa Farelo Hayes