Last week Dai had caught some huss so I bought a small piece and put it in the freezer. I had never cooked it before. Huss, also known as rock salmon, was my standard purchase from my favourite fish and chip shop when I lived in London, so I knew that it was full of flavour. I made it into a fish stew.
I skinned and cooked some tomatoes, lightly fried onion and garlic in olive oil, sprinkled over a little smoked paprika and whizzed it all up in the food processor. I added herbs, ground fennel, a seriously good pinch of saffron and a big spoonful of piri-piri for a good hit of heat. A little fish stock, a little white wine and a small glug of brandy completed the mix. I sliced the huss into chunks, fried them quickly in olive oil, and then removed them from the pan. Next, the components of a pack of frozen shellfish from the Chester Waitrose went into the same pan, and those too were removed once they had heated through. Into the fishy juices I poured the tomato mixture and reduced it down. The huss went back into the pan first and then the shellfish, all topped with clams in their shells to warm through. It was accessorized with a fresh coriander gremolata over the top, and served with a grilled slice of crusty Welsh bread with a clove of garlic rubbed over it for dipping in the juices. A delectable glass of Sancerre to accompany it wrapped things up perfectly. Not as glamorous or authentic as a French bouillabaisse or as delectable as a Spanish zarzuela, but my simple Algarve-inspired fish stew was a lot quicker to produce and required much less fish!
The huss was absolutely divine. It holds its shape, retains its gorgeous flavour and has a wonderful texture. It would make a brilliant substitute in recipes that demand the much more expensive monkfish. I popped down into Aberdovey and bought an even bigger bit this morning, given that it freezes so well. Dai says that the weather is too rough to go out for the next couple of days, so no dressed crab or mackerel for the time being. I am still not quite up to dealing with a live lobster.