Hake is often cast aside or forgotten about thanks to people always choosing to chuck it in a stodgy batter, deep frying and then serving it with chips and mushy peas. Now, there is nothing wrong with that but for this recipe I am going to show you a much more lighter way of preparing the underrated fish.
In this recipe I make use of the Siemens Steamer Oven to prepare the green beans. The steamer only uses 300ml and can consistently produce steam for up to 1 hour. So much more water savvy than boiling a 3litre pot of water to blanch vegetables in, am I right?
This recipe makes for a delicious mid week dinner. The zesty pesto and light flakey fish works perfectly with a bottle of Radford Dale Chardonnay 2016.
Ask your fish monger to scale and pin bone the fish for you this will save you time and save cleaning up all the mess after! Trim and portion the fish into roughly 200g portions
Place the fish in-between a clean cloth and set to one side. The cloth will remove any excess moisture which can ruin the fish when pan frying
Finley slice the fennel on a mandolin and place into ice water. This will curl up the fennel and make the slices nice and crunchy on the plate
To make the pesto, place all the ingredients (apart from the olive oil) into a food processor and then pulse on the lowest setting while gradually adding the olive oil. I prefer a more course pesto so don’t over pulse the mixture otherwise you will end up with a herb vinaigrette! Season to taste and remove.
For the beans; Preheat the Siemens steamer oven to 125ºC and “high steam” setting.
Remove the tops of the beans but keep the bottoms. Place on the perforated Siemens steam oven tray, season with salt and place into the steamer. Steam for 7 minutes then remove and place into ice water to refresh
Now heat the Scanpan chargrill pan until smoking hot
Oil the beans and then chargrill until the bar marks are visible. Don’t be scared to really give the beans a good bit of colour. It gives them a delicious smoky flavour
Remove from the heat and place into a bowl. Add the diced shallot, chilli and garlic. Season with lemon juice and a touch of Willow Creek Parmesan Olive Oil
For the cooking of the fish; Remove the hake from the cloth and season both sides with salt.
Oil your Scanpan frying pan and place the fish into the cold pan skin side down
Put the pan onto a high heat and apply some pressure on the top of the fish to keep the skin in contact with the base of the pan. Don’t mess around or move the fish while cooking. Allow the skin of the fish to cook and form a crust. The fish will cook 2/3 through while skin side down
Once the edge of the skin is golden brown and a knob of butter. Let the butter foam and turn nutty brown then remove from the heat and turn the fish over. Give the pan a squeeze of lemon and let the fish rest in the warm butter
To plate the dish; smear the pesto across the base of the plate then assemble the beans off centre. Place the fish on top and dot the slices of fennel around. Grate over a bit more pecorino then add some rocket cress and serve