A hake's progress...
Hake come from the same family as cod and haddock (Phycidae). They are long, powerful fish which average around 1-2kg, but which can grow to over 10kg.
Hake can grow up to one metre in length and their lifespan can be around 14 years. Seldom caught on inshore fishing grounds, they are found in water ranging in depth from 200-350 metres. All hake species stay nearer the bottom during the day and come to the middle depths during the night. They are voracious predators of other species found near or on the bottom of the sea.
Versatility is the hake's middle name when it comes to cooking. Braise, griddle, BBQ, poach, steam, bake and grill... the hake can take it all. Best of all, there are very few bones so fillets and steaks are great for kids and those who find picking meat from bones a tedious task.
Michelin two-star chef Tom Aiken, writing in his book Fish describes hake as a mild fish with a more subtle flavour than cod. The flesh is more delicate in texture, but is moist and juicy and firms up on cooking.
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Roast darnes (steaks of fish on the bone) with butter, capers, green olives and sliced lemon and parsley added at the end. Alternatively, poach the hake in a court bouillon, which is an aromatic vegetable stock flavoured with carrots, fennel, celery, leeks, star anise, pink peppercorns, thyme, lemon and orange peel, dill and tarragon.
Making the stock the day before, so it has time to marinate, makes for more flavour.