Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Stuffed hake (or other white fish)

This recipe appears, unacknowledged, in my own handwriting in my recipe book. I do remember how I came by it, though.

I was accompanying some or other boyfriend (which puts the occasion at least 25 years ago!) on a visit to his extended family, and, on offer was the largest whole fish I had ever seen. Fresh caught that day by the host, apparently. For a reluctant fish eater, this was not a welcome sight! I took a portion, because that's the polite thing to do, but it was with no great eagerness, I can assure you. I was so surprised at how palatable the dish was, that I asked the hostess for the recipe. I didn't record her name with the recipe because I couldn't remember what it was. If I had, I would probably have spent hours wondering who the heck Pamela Watson (or whatever) was!

In South Africa, hake is quite easy to come by. Less so in the UK. On this occasion, I was able to find some, but I will never tell how much I paid for it! Suffice to say that it came from Waitrose ('nuff said). Instead, you can use pretty much any firm-fleshed white fish that comes in a large enough version to meet the requirements of the recipe. I'm sure cod would work, but I have a bit of a thing about eating endangered species and, as far as I know, cod still appears on WWF's list.

Oven temperature

1kg hake or equivalent, either as a single fillet or as two 500g fillets, skin on
25ml onion, finely chopped
7 rashers of bacon, 5 whole and 2 finely chopped
60g butter
10ml fresh parsely, chopped
350ml fresh breadcrumbs
2ml dried mixed herbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tomatoes, sliced
150ml white wine

  • If using a single fillet, cut it in two equal halves. Lay one, skin side down in a greased baking dish.
  • Saute the onion and chopped bacon in 30g of the butter.
  • Add the sauteed mixture to the breadcrumbs, parsley, mixed herbs and seasoning.
  • Spoon this mixture over the fillet in the baking dish.
  • Carefully place the other fillet, skin side up, on top of the mixture.
  • Arrange the tomato slices on top and then cover with the 5 whole rashers of bacon.
  • Dot with the remaining 30g of butter and pour the wine over (carefully, so as not to dislodge the butter).
  • Ready for the wine, and then the oven
  • Bake for about 45 minutes, basting regularly.
  • Serve with new potatoes and vegetables or a salad.

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