Best way to cook

Nutritional value: High in protein

Pan-frying You can choose to fry your fish as is or cover it in flour or breadcrumbs. Using the extra coating will give your fish more texture and body. If you’re going to dip it in flour, soak the fish in a bowl of milk for 3 to 5 minutes, before covering it in flour or breadcrumbs. This will help the coating stick to the fish.

Get your pan ready for frying by pouring a few tablespoons of vegetable oil into it. You can also use clarified butter which will taste great on the fish. Heat the pan until the oil slides around easily. You can splatter a few drops of water in the pan – if the water sizzles, it’s ready for your fish. Place the fish flesh side down in the pan – the side you’ll be presenting to your diner (the non-skin side).

  Once your fish is in the pan, slide a spatula gently underneath to prevent it from sticking. Cook the fish for 3 to 4 minutes on one side and then flip it. Fish usually cooks for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Use a wide spatula to prevent breaking the fish. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the flesh turns pearly white and flakes easily with a fork. Carefully lift it out of the pan and serve immediately.

Grilling Grilling fish gives you a great advantage as you have complete control over the temperature. Always coat your fish with oil or fat to prevent sticking. As you’re heating your grill, cover the grate loosely with aluminium foil. The intense heat will cause any residue to dissolve, starting the cleaning process for you. This also minimizes sticking.

  Blast the heat to 288°C. Remove the aluminium foil. Using a grill brush, scrape the grate clean. Fold a few sheets of paper towels into a small pad, dip them in oil using tongs and rub over the bars of the grate until it looks glossy.   Choose fillets that are thick and sturdy for grilling and can stand up to the intense heat of a live fire. Cut your fish into portions that have an even thickness to ensure you don’t have any dry or undercooked parts.

Coat your fish with some olive oil, salt and pepper and place it skin-side down and diagonally on the grill.   This makes it easier to flip the fish as it’s lying on an angle. The fish will take 8 minutes to cook through per inch of thickness, taking about 3-5 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the grill and let it cook. When cooked properly, the meat will be firm to the touch, flake easily with a fork and appear opaque all the way through.

Hake on wholewheat couscous

  • 4 x 150g hake fillets
  • flour for dusting
  • sunflower oil for frying
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Dressing

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed juice of
  • 1 lemon
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 4 large green olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • To serve
  • Wholewheat couscous, cooked according to packet instructions, Wilted baby spinach

Wholewheat couscous, cooked according to packet instructions, Wilted baby spinach

 

Method

  1. Mix together the dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Dust the fish with a little flour and season well.
  3. Heat some oil in a pan. Cook the fish over medium-high heat for a few minutes per side or until golden and just cooked through.
  4. Spoon some couscous onto each plate, top with a piece of fish, spoon over plenty of the dressing and serve immediately with some wilted baby spinach.

Cook’s note

This is also lovely with steamed hake (steam for 10 minutes). You could also omit the olives and add a few torn basil leaves to the tomato dressing.

*Recipe provided courtesy of Fairlady magazine.

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