I've been reminded of this recipe from one of my books by a customer, Sarah Lisle, who has been trying out various recipes from the book and who's partner, Jed Alder, has taken some great photos, which they've been kind enough to let me use (more to follow in the recipes soon).
I have seen this dish on countless menus on my regular trips to Barcelona. I go there just to experience the fabulous mercat st Josep or the Boqueria as it is known, it is the most incredible market I have ever been to in the world and a massive inspiration for anyone who likes to cook. I have had several versions of this dish and cooked it many times, the “green sauce “ comes from the amount of parsley used in the dish, its that classic Catalonian mix of garlic and parsley that just simply works together that makes it so enjoyable, the clams add a wonderful saltiness, done well you can taste the sea – perfect with one of those great Spanish wines served ice cold like Albarino or Cava.
In the book I make it with hake but Sarah and Jed used sea bass so I'll let you choose.
You Will Need – Serves 4
4 fillets sea bass or hake weighing about 180 g/ 6 oz each
Flour for dusting
100ml / 4 fl oz olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 good handfuls finely chopped parsley
2 potatoes peeled and very thinly sliced
Splash dry white wine
1 birds eye chilli
1 bay leaf
200 g / 7 oz fresh clams or mussels
Salt and pepper
Give the fish a good dusting of flour and season well, pour the olive oil into a casserole dish and when it’s hot add the garlic and fry for a minute then remove, by doing this you will give oil a real garlicky flavour which is a good base to start from. When the garlic is cooled crush or pound it in a pestle and mortar and mix it with the parsley, it is important that the parsley is as fine as you can get it .
Brown the fish on both sides in the oil and remove from the pan and set aside then brown the potato slices. Add a splash of wine and then sit the fish on top of the potatoes, add the parsley and garlic and just enough water to cover the potatoes. Add the chilli, bay leaf and clams, cover and cook gently for 7-8 minutes until the clams open, the fish should be moist and cooked by this time and the thin slices of potato all breaking up as you serve the fish from the pan.
This dish needs pepper to season but there should be plenty of salt from the clams and the sauce should be a vibrant green from the parsley.