Hake is a low-fat (so you can feel virtuous) salt-water fish, related to cod, found in the Atlantic and north Pacific. It’s a step up from cod, haddock and pollock, whilst not quite up to the quality of halibut. It’s very popular in Spain and Portugal. African hake (as opposed to European) is not expensive… just a touch more than cod.


Recipe for Happy Go Lucky Hake

for four

  • 4 x 120g hake fillets
  • 8 x rashers thinly sliced smoked bacon
  • 250 g chestnut mushrooms, wiped and sliced
  • 150 g oyster mushrooms, wiped and sliced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil plus more for greasing
  • ½ cup/120ml pink martini (rosato vermouth)
  • Javanese cubeb pepper (often used in North African cooking, goes well with the coriander, fresh and aromatic)
  • garlic and coriander naan bread (plain naan if you don’t like coriander)
  • few stalks of coriander (if you don’t like coriander use parsley instead) chopped

This is a dish in its own right, but it also goes well with fried gnocchi (500g/1 lb) and green beans (350g/12 oz). Simply heat four tbsp olive oil in a frying pan – fry for four minutes, then joggle and fry for another four minutes at a high enough heat that they start to go crispy. Boil and butter the beans in the time-honoured way.

  1. heat oven to 180°C (use bottom right for aga owners)
  2. smear a film of oil over the bottom of a ceramic ovenproof dish
  3. divide each fillet into two vertically, and wrap each half fillet in the bacon
  4. place in the dish and scatter the mushrooms around them
  5. pour over the oil
  6. put in the oven, and after about 10 minutes, baste, to make sure the mushrooms are covered in the oil… add the pink martini
  7. cook for a further ten minutes
  8. put the naan into the oven with the fish, cook for a further ten minutes
  9. take all out, check fish is cooked through (totally opaque)
  10. serve, garnished with the chopped coriander
  11. Indonesian long pepper – you probably don’t need much salt because of the bacon

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