Portuguese Grilled Hake

Portuguese grilled hake on garlic toast with charred red peppers and vino tinto

One of the very best parts of world travel is eating like a local. Portugal makes this easy, with it’s long Atlantic coastlines and semi-Mediterranean climate. Fresh fish, local olive oil, good quality sea salt, and many varieties of citrus fruits are abundant and inexpensive. Dinner, anyone?

Seasoned Hake tails straight from the grill

Fish counters in Portuguese markets are an experience; there are so many choices! Yesterday, these hake tails caught my eye. Bright white and meaty, they weren’t the best bargain at the counter but were a luxury I couldn’t resist, and quite fairly priced at 2.99 Euro per tail (for an American on a budget, this works out to about $4.50 per pound). The fishmonger scaled and definned the tails for me, which was a happy surprise.

Hake tails ready for the grill

Fresh Hake tails need very little kitchen prep. First, rinse and pat dry. Second, mince one clove of garlic for each tail, and mix the garlic into one tablespoon of olive oil for each tail. Third, rub the garlic oil mixture all over the skin (which is entirely edible, if you wish, once descaled). Fourth, sprinkle both sides generously with good quality sea salt.

Hake tails over hot coals

Grill your prepared Hake tails over hot coals for 7-8 minutes per side for fully cooked fish, or 6 minutes per side if you prefer your fish a bit rare (common here, but not my preference). Grilling over lemon slices will help prevent sticking, but you will still need to be careful when flipping your fish. That’s really all there is to it! Prepare the skin, grill in the sunshine, and enjoy!

Everything tastes better with a view like this!

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