Hake with bacon, hazelnuts and leeks

Hake with bacon, hazelnuts and leeks

By
From
Everyday Seafood
Serves
4

Hake deserves to be more popular. It’s an excellent variety for coaxing non-fish eaters and children to eat fish, especially if you serve it this way. The lovely bacon, hazelnut and earthy leek flavours merge as the fish cooks and the juices that collect in the grill pan are amazing. You could make this dish with any member of the cod family.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 filleted portions of hake, skin on, about 180 g each
8 medium leeks, dark green part removed, well washed
8 rashers smoked streaky bacon
100g blanched hazelnuts
olive oil, for cooking
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

Quantity Ingredient
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled, halved (germ removed) and finely chopped
1 tablespoon english mustard
3 tablespoons verjus or lemon juice
3 tablespoons water
400ml light olive oil

To finish

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Method

  1. To cook the leeks, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil over a medium heat. Cut the leeks across in half, add to the pan and cook for 12 minutes until tender (I like my leeks well cooked, not al dente).
  2. Preheat your grill to medium. Season the hake portions with salt and pepper; set aside.
  3. Lay the bacon on a grill tray and cook for about 5 minutes until crispy, turning halfway. Save any bacon fat on the tray, to add to the dressing.
  4. Drain the leeks thoroughly and transfer to a shallow grillproof dish (large enough to hold the leeks in a single layer). Leave to cool slightly.
  5. To make the dressing, put the shallot, garlic, mustard, verjus or lemon juice and water into a blender. Blend briefly to combine then, with the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin, steady stream through the funnel until it is all incorporated and the dressing is emulsified. Add the retained bacon fat too. Pour the dressing over the leeks.
  6. Scatter the hazelnuts on a grill tray and toast them under the grill until golden all over, turning as necessary to colour evenly. Tip the nuts onto a board and chop them roughly. Do the same to the bacon. Sprinkle the bacon and nuts over the leeks.
  7. Lay the hake portions on top of the leeks and place under the grill. Cook for 6–8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
  8. Either serve on a large warmed platter in the middle of the table and let everyone help themselves, or place on individual plates. Finish with a scattering of chopped parsley. I like this best with mash, but it is also good with new potatoes.
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