Ingredients (serves 4)
- 4 portions of hake – 180g each from a medium-sized fish (ideally cut from the centre of the fillet)
- 1 head of fennel
For the dressing:
- 100g brown shrimps
- 10 green seedless grapes (halved)
- 1 good handfull of chives (finely chopped)
- 1 handful extra fine capers
- 150g unsalted butter
- 200ml verjus
For the pickled shallots:
- 2 banana shallots (finely diced)
- 100ml Chardonnay vinegar
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 peppercorn
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 smashed clove of garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon (to taste)
- Sea salt and freshly milled pepper (for seasoning)
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: About 10 minutes
- Ensure all scales and pin bones are removed from the hake.
- Lightly season the fish all over with sea salt and place on a tray for 15 minutes. As well as an even, consistent seasoning, treating the fish in this way draws out some of the moisture, firming up the flesh and allowing for more even cooking.
- Rinse off salt and pat dry with a clean cloth, set aside until ready to cook.
- Bring 100ml of the verjus to the boil along with the rest of the ingredients, take off heat and drop in diced shallot, leave to cool.
- Shave fennel finely on mandolin into a bowl, dress with lemon juice and a pinch of salt, set aside to allow the fennel to start to break down a little.
Cook fish and plate:
- Pre heat oven to 190°C, heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a slug of olive oil, swirl pan to leave a thin film of oil covering the base and add the fish skin side down one at a time.
- Gently press the back of each fillet with your fish slice to ensure a nice even sear. Allow to fry for 3 to 4 minutes to allow skin to colour and crisp up then place in oven.
- After 4 minutes, remove pan from oven and place back over heat, add butter and flip fish, allow butter to brown
- (you will smell a nuttiness in the air).
- Add capers and lemon juice, reduce for a minute then remove from heat and place fish onto a tray to rest.
- Place pan back over heat and bring pan juices back up to the boil, deglaze with verjus and allow to evaporate, scraping all the sediment from the base of the pan.
- Strain the pickled shallots and add to the pan along with a couple of tablespoons of the pickling liquor, add brown shrimps, grapes and chives, check for seasoning and set aside.
- To serve, gently arrange the fish in the centre of your plate, place the shaved fennel next to it and dress liberally with vinaigrette from pan. Enjoy!
And to drink?
Fishy dishes pair wonderfully with medium ciders such as Sheppy’s Dabinett Apple Cider (6.5% ABV).