A simple dinner at the house in Orthez: small “merluchons” broiled with garlic, lemon and olive oil…yummy!

Merlu is the Atlantic fish that we know in English as hake. You will also find it on French menus as colin  and as far as I have been able find, merluchon just means small merlu.

Merlu is one of the principle catches landed at the fishing port of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, along with tuna, sardines, anchovies and the small squids know as chiperones.  As Saint-Jean-de-Luz is less than an hour from our house, merlu tends to show up on the fish mongers tables on a very regular basis.

It s a mild, firm, flaky white fish in the same family as cod, though maybe a bit firmer.  It is a fish that can be cooked just about anyway you can think of, but broiling or roasting work especially well.  For this dish, I just mixed sliced garlic and diced shallots  with sea salt, piment d’Espelette and olive oil, then drizzled this over the fish and broiled.  For small fishes like these, the cooking takes about 4-5 minutes per side.

Finished with a squeeze of lemon and served with a green salad and crusty bread, quick and easy.

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