Delicious locally caught hake

Bacon wrapped hake loin with Cornish cider and a summer vegetable broth

Serves 4 people

This time of year, our specials board is crammed with local fresh fish. Hake it great to cook with as it’s so firm, with big fresh flakes, and it’s extremely popular. This dish takes a bit of work, but it is really worth it, so have a go. Do try and buy your hake from a reputable fishmonger rather than a supermarket, it will be much fresher and tastier. Our hake comes from Stevenson’s at Newlyn. We visited their operation a month or so ago and were really impressed with what they produce – more on that in a later blog! Most of the veg used in this recipe came from Pete at Lizard Leaves, who grows fabulous organic greens just up the road from the Pandora.

Chef’s Tip:

It’s always best to prepare things in advance then you’re less likely to get in a panic or miss out something from the recipe. Timing on this dish is also quite important, so planning ahead is a good idea! It’s always best to ‘taste as you go’ – check your seasoning as you add ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 4 x 180/200gm hake loin portions
  • 200g smoked streaky bacon
  • 2-3 large potatoes, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 1 large leek (white part only) finely chopped
  • 1 large banana shallot finely chopped
  • 150gm Cornish asparagus roughly chopped
  • 2cm chunk of fresh root ginger
  • Zest and juice of one lime
  • 1 pint good quality orchard cider – preferably Cornish!
  • 300ml good fish stock
  • ½ kilo fresh Cornish mussels
  • 1 tbsp honey

Method

  1. Wrap each piece of hake in bacon and refrigerate.  Ideally, you want to do this a couple of hours in advance
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the cider to the boil and add the fish stock
  3. Infuse with the ginger, lime and honey
  4. Take a non-stick frying pan and get it nice and hot. Put the pieces of fish in, one at a time, skin side down. Hold each one down gently with your fingers until you feel it ‘rest’ a little, and then turn the heat down to medium
  5. Check the stock, add the potatoes and leave them to simmer for 8 minutes, while the hake cooks
  6. Add the mussels to the stock and boil for 3 minutes making sure all the mussel shells open, discard any that don’t
  7. At this point, flip the hake loins over (I reckon the skin side of the fish should always get 70% of the cooking time)
  8. Add the asparagus, leek and shallots to the stock and turn down the heat, simmer for a further 3 minutes
  9. The hake should now be perfect, so check the seasoning and serve in a deep bowl, with the hake sitting on top of the vegetable broth, with the crispy skin uppermost
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