Ideas for Hake Recipes
As we went to press*, the Marine Conservation Society gave Cape hake a rating of 2 (1 = fully sustainable; 5 = unsustainable), making it a reasonably good choice. European hake are not so sustainable. The fish is in season from about July to January.
Hake is not an attractive fish. At first sight it resembles a silvery trout, without the rainbow or pebbledash effect. Closer inspection reveals bulging eyes, vicious jaws and ragged fins. Trying to source an attractive photo for you, dear reader, The Taster was momentarily unnerved by various photographers’ attempts to render the fish less repellent by, for example, placing a cherry tomato between its razor fangs, or artfully coiling it to appear to be, rather painfully, biting its own tail. We advise against such tricks. Just chop it into steaks.
On the up side, hake is an excellent substitute for cod (for which the sustainability issues are so complex, it is simpler just to buy something else). As a firm white fish it is perfect for:
- Goan fish curry: marinade in tamarind, garlic, chilli, ginger, coriander & turmeric; onion & tomato; and coconut milk
- Alternatively, buy a fish rub from Dhaniya — they do the work for you
- The MCS recommends poached hake with lemon juice
- Battered hake with chips and peas also works. Whisky together 340g self-raising flour, a pinch of salt and 250ml cold beer. Dip pieces of hake in it before deep-frying in a very hot, mild vegetable oil
- Fishcakes or fish fingers — just combine with egg, mix in herbs (parsley is the obvious one) to your own taste shape, roll in breadcrumbs and fry as above
- With a crust — the Seafood Emporium Ramus suggests encrusting a thick hake fillet with chopped parsley, tomatoes, shallots, breadcrumbs, chilli, lemon and crabmeat; then serving with seasonal greens and shellfish mayonnaise. There is no way that this will not be utterly delicious; see the whole recipe HERE
A little cream, reduced Pinot Grigio and fish stock makes a delicious sauce for any white fish. To make it more interesting, throw in a few cockles or shrimps, or parsley and fresh coriander leaves, and serve with green veg, bread and butter.
Ramus recommends a cold, crisp Muscadet with their hake recipe.
Our wine buff, Richard J Smith of the Wine Schools of Cheshire & London, has not yet penned his thoughts for us on hake, but he has on haddock (a close match). For this, he suggests English wines made with the bacchus grape (which has been so instrumental in helping propel English wines up the rungs of glory in international wine competitions, recently). As with all grapes, (he says), bacchus tastes a little different depending on where it is grown. Foxhole Vineyard Bacchus 2015 from the Bolney Estate, Sussex, is “a cut above — in fact, the best English Bacchus I’ve tasted, not dissimilar to a classic Sancerre. It’s a few pounds more but you can see where the money is.” £16.99 from Bolney Wine Estate.
The Taster hopes this page has given you a few ideas and useful links. For more ingredients, click HERE.
*This article was first published in The Taster magazine, Summer 2015. Richard’s notes on bacchus wines appeared in the Summer 2016 issue.