We love hake – so often overlooked it’s the star of one of our favourite dinner party meals. Meaty, crispy-skinned hake sits atop a mound of sweet, soft, buttery leek ribbons with a riesling cream sauce. It looks restaurant worthy and tastes the part too but is really easy and quick to whip up. It’s a great one to impress your guests without the hassle that often goes with it.
4 Large Hake Fillets, approximately 150g each
4 Leeks, sliced finely
1 Small Bunch of Tarragon, finely diced
1 Small Bunch of Parsley, finely diced
60g Butter, plus more for the fish
1–2 Shallots, finely diced
200ml Single Cream, plus a splash for the leeks
Squeeze of Lemon Juice
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
Crushed Toasted Hazelnuts
1. Place a large, deep pan over a medium high heat with a generous lug of olive oil. Add the sliced leeks to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, moving the leeks constantly, until they have started to release some moisture and the volume is starting to reduce. Reduce the heat to low and add half the butter.
2. You want to cook the leeks for about 15-20 minutes on this low heat until they are really soft and sweet and delicious. You can leave these to cook whilst you are preparing your sauce and cooking the fish – just make sure to give them a stir every few minutes.
3. After 15 minutes or so, add the remaining butter and a splash of cream, season and leave to sweat for a further 2-3 minutes.
4. Shortly before serving, add the chopped tarragon and mix through the leeks.
1. Place a saucepan over a medium heat with a splash of olive oil. Add the diced shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes until just starting to colour. Add the Riesling to the pan and turn the heat up too high.
2. Leave the wine to reduce by two thirds.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 thirds of the cream. Allow to reduce by one third before adding the rest of the cream.
4. Just before serving, add a squeeze of lemon to the sauce, and mix together quickly to avoid splitting. Season with salt.
1. Place a pan over a high heat and add a good lug of oil to the pan. Before adding the fish to the pan, dry the fillets on kitchen roll thoroughly – this will help you achieve the crisp skin you’re after!
2. Season the fillets with salt and then add to the pan skin side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes in the hot pan nudging loose after a minute or so to ensure the skin does not stick. In the last minute of the skin-side-down cooking, add a knob of butter to the pan. This will help the skin to really crisp up. Flip the fillets and cook for a further 2 minutes.
To serve, place a large nest of the leeks in the centre of your plate before topping with the Hake fillet. Next, spoon the sauce around the leeks – ensuring not to get any on the crispy fish skin! To finish, add a small spoonful each of roughly chopped hazelnuts and capers and a sprinkling of chopped parsley. Serve immediately and enjoy.