Silver Hake, also called whiting in some regions, is a true member of the cod family, of which only cod, haddock, pollock and hake are legitimate members. This flavorful fish is lean and flaky, and is very popular among the Portuguese community, who are brilliant seafood cooks. You may substitute small cod or haddock in this recipe, but if you can purchase hake, I highly recommend that you do. In this recipe, the hake is coated in cornmeal and pan-fried in olive oil. In a separate pan, you make a quick sauce with onions, peppers, tomatoes and olives. When the fish is cooked, the sauce is spooned around the fish. Although the flavor of this sauce is similar to a seafood stew, it is less intense, with lighter flavors and, because the fish is cooked separately, it keeps its natural flavor. The combination is magic. Serve with home fries or plain rice. The sauce for this dish needs to be fresh and light and therefore cannot be made ahead. However you can prepare the tomatoes (step 1) well in advance. You can also cut the vegetables and pit the olives for the sauce earlier in the day, up to 4 hours in advance. For equipment you will need a 2 quart saucepan to blanch the tomatoes, an 8 to 10-inch skillet to make the sauce, a wooden spoon, a 12 or 14-inch well-seasoned cast iron or nonstick skillet for cooking the fish, and a slotted spatula.
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