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Cape Hake with Eggplant Recipe

Wow, did I make something great for dinner tonight! I was flipping through a cookbook I bought at the street market this weekend and I saw several pictures of eggplant and others of fish, so I decided to combine the two. Here is what I decided to create.

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First I went to the market to see what fish they had available. I like white fish, so I ended up buying about 1 and 1/3 pounds of Merluza del Cabo. I had no idea what it was until I was able to get home and look it up online. Turns out it is Cape Hake, which I’ve never heard of, but it’s in the same category as a Cod or Haddock. This fish is a really nice, mild, white fish.

To start, I decided to bake it, so I made a quick white sauce. Of course I never measure anything, so I put the ingredients in a bowl and took a picture of it before I mixed it together. Here’s what’s in it: mayonnaise, extra virgin olive oil, melted butter, wine vinegar with raspberry juice, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Hopefully you can look at the picture and get an idea of the quantity of each item I used, but hey–that’s what I like, and it will probably change next time, so if you try it, be creative and add what you like.

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In a casserole dish, I coated the bottom with a layer of extra virgin olive oil, laid the fish out, and spread the sauce on them.

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As usual, I have to add my vegetables to my dishes, so here is what I added; garlic, onions, mushrooms, spinach, eggplant, and tomatoes.

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I sliced up the garlic, onions, and mushrooms first and spread them over the top of the fish.

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Then I added a layer of torn, not cut, spinach. However, after the fact, I think I would have doubled the amount of spinach that I added. I liked the taste of the spinach in the dish, there just wasn’t enough of it.

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I sliced the eggplant lengthwise about 1/4 inch thick and created a full layer on top of the contents. I knew this would help contain the moisture from the other ingredients and create a very moist fish and vegetables. Then I sliced the tomatoes and laid them on the eggplant to add moisture on the top to help the eggplant cook better. I topped it all off with some more extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and some more parsley for garnishment.

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At this point I thought about adding some “good” European cheese on top, but my kids still have not delveloped a taste for “good” cheese but still like that cheap pre-grated stuff in reclosable packaging…yuck! So I opted not to waste my cheese on them and give them an excuse for not liking it. I felt like I was already pushing my limits by not dicing the mushrooms so they couldn’t see them and placing big slices of eggplant on the dish. Our oven here is not the most accurate, so I believe I cooked it somewhere between 325 and 350. I baked it for 10 minutes uncovered and then I placed a cookie sheet on top of the casserole dish for another 20 minutes. Here is what it looked like when I pulled it out.

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Results: well, it all disappeared except for one piece of eggplant, a few vegetables, and some sauce, just enough to add to my fried eggs tomorrow morning for breakfast. I can’t wait. Everyone loved it except for Silas, but then again, he’s still too young to like much of anything that’s good for him. He ended up eating some of my left over spaghetti from two nights ago.

Give it a try or some variation thereof and let me know what you did differently and how it turned out for you. I think a good variation would be to use zucchini instead of eggplant.

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