Spurdog, smooth hound and tope are all types of fish generally sold as 'huss' these days – they're also known to fishermen as dogfish.
Misleadingly, you used to see them disguised as rock salmon in fish and chip shops around the country. Generally, though, they are completely forgotten about in our kitchens, which is a shame. The fairly firm flesh will withstand a bit of braising and marinating, which makes them good for trying out in various recipes.
Huss is normally skinned by the fisherman; ask the fishmonger to cut it into roughly 60g chunks on the bone.
I've used meat stock in this recipe but non-meat-eaters can use fish stock.
250g huss cut into 60g chunks on the bone
Flour for dusting
Vegetable or corn oil for frying
120g wild mushrooms or button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
A good knob of butter for frying
Salt and pepper
For the sauce
120g piece of streaky bacon, cut into cubes
8 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped
120ml red wine
500ml beef stock (a cube will do)
Gently cook the bacon, shallots, garlic and thyme in the butter, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, without colouring, until soft. Add the flour and stir well with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the red wine, then gradually add the beef stock. Bring to the boil and simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes.
Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Dust the huss with flour, season with salt and pepper and fry them, a few pieces at a time on all sides, until well-coloured – remove and place on kitchen paper. Clean the pan and sauté the mushrooms in butter for a few minutes until lightly coloured, then drain in a colander.
Add the fish and mushrooms to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. The sauce should have thickened to a gravy-like consistency by now. If not, remove the fish and simmer the sauce until it has thickened, then return the fish to the sauce – season again if necessary.
Serve with buttery mashed potato or rice.