Hake and the Wimbledon Final

I’ve been meaning to attempt this dish for quite a long time now and was really pleased by how well it turned out. This was inspired by one of the many delicious things we ate at The Shed a few months ago so I hope they won’t mind me pinching their idea. I actually used dry flageolet beans when I cooked this as that’s all I had but have put canned here as the dried ones took an AGE to cook.

I’m writing this 3 sets into the Wimbledon final so please forgive any spelling mistakes!

  • hake – 2 good sized fillet slices
  • 1 can of flageolet beans
  • a couple of spicy Italian sausages or just good quality normal ones
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • double cream
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • curly kale

Begin by cooking the crispy kale. Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Toss the kale in some olive oil and lay out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and bake it in the oven until crispy and just beginning to brown at the edges. This will only take 5-8mins.

SausagemeatCrush the fennel seeds using a pestle and mortar. Next take the sausage meat out of the skins. Heat a heavy based saucepan over a medium-high heat and add a bit of olive oil; fry the sausage meat, breaking the meat down all the time with the back of a wooden spoon. As it begins to brown add the fennel seeds and stir in well. Continue to cook until the fat has rendered and the meat is like a coarse mince and has a lovely golden colour. Set aside.

Strain the flageolet beans in a sieve, empty into a saucepan and heat gently for a couple of minutes. Add enough double cream just to give it a bit of a sauce and then add a tbsp of capers and the lemon juice. Season to taste.

For the fish season well on each side of the fillet. Heat a generous knob of butter in a frying pan over a relatively high heat – I did this in the same pan I had just cooked the sausages in. Cook the hake skin side down, holding it down firmly for the first few seconds, for about 4 mins until the skin is golden brown and the fish starting to cook through. Turn it over and cook the other side – it will only need another minute or 2 on this side. Remove from the heat to rest for a minute.

To serve add the sausage meat to the beans and spoon onto warm plates. Place the fish on top and then arrange the kale around the outside.

My hake

I’m not normally one for surf and turf but this works brilliantly. There is a wonderful richness to this dish and the sausage meat and fennel seeds adds a bit of warmth and spice. As such you would need a wine with body and a bit of spice that can support these flavours. I would recommend an oaked Chardonnay for this. A decent Burgundy would be delicious but a southern French Chardonnay would do the job admirably well. If you go for a New World Chardonnay try to make sure there’s not too much tropical fruit on the palate as this will override the subtleness of the fish.


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