Have Your Hake And Eat It

There are many foods that evoke childhood nostalgia for me – potato waffles, rainbow drops and Frosties with hot milk – and I am not ashamed to admit to still enjoying a bowl of sugary, warm cereal morning, noon or night.

These are a few of my favourite things...

These are a few of my favourite things…

Last month Birds Eye Fish Fingers celebrated their 60th anniversary as a freezer box favourite proving certain food types can stand the test of time, although this is one old staple I have never yearned for.

‘Fish Friday’ was the norm in my house for as long as I remember – an extension of the rule Christians should abstain from eating meat on Lenten Friday’s – a tradition I cared little for.

From the smell to the taste and the texture I did not like fish and before finding the courage to say “no mother I won’t eat that” attempted to eat the breaded variety if it was drowning in parsley sauce.

In my mid-twenties I decided to give fish another chance; perhaps it was the popularity of fish dishes on TV cookery shows or the incessant complaints of my family and friends about cooking for someone with a never ending ‘will not eat’ list.

Whatever the reason I succumbed to peer pressure as eating fish seemed to be the grown up thing to do. Now I actually enjoy eating mild, white fish like cod and haddock and then there is hake – my favourite catch of the day.

Hake with Lemon and Fennel butter.

Hake with Lemon and Fennel butter.

I love how flaky and meltingly soft hake is and its mild flavour means it is a versatile fish that goes with almost anything, try my version below with a lemon and fennel butter.

Ingredients (serves two)

  • 2 hake fillets
  • 1 lemon – juice and zest
  • 10-15 fennels seeds – crushed
  • 100 grams of butter
  • Salt and pepper


  • Remove any skin from the hake and season well with salt and pepper
  • Melt half of the butter in a hot frying pan and add the hake.
  • Fry the hake for roughly five minutes on each side, both should be golden brown.
  • Remove the hake from the pan, wrap the fish in tin foil and let it rest for a few minutes.
  • Dry fry the fennel seeds in the pan for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining butter and lemon juice and zest.
  • Let the fennel and lemon cook and flavour the butter for a few minutes.
  • Pour this over the hake and serve with homemade chips and a lemon wedge.

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