Tuesday, 9 June 2015



Ingredients (to feed 2):

1 large hake fillet or 2 small ones
1 Courgette cut into thick slices
2 Tomatoes, quartered and de-seeded
1 hand full of chopped thyme
Olive oil

For the sauce
2 small shallots finely chopped
1 Bay leaf
Small hand full of whole black pepper corns
1 Teaspoon of white wine vinegar
1/2  Glass of white wine
2 Tablespoons of double cream
50g unsalted butter cut into small cubes

The Preparation:

Begin by seasoning the courgette slices with salt and ground pepper, and fry in olive oil on a low to medium heat. Do not allow it to get too hot as Olive oil becomes carcinogenic if it stars to smoke. And as that can kill you best not to! Fry until is starts to turn colour then add in the tomatoes. Sprinkle the chopped thyme over the lot and stir it all in. Let that carry, turning them over occasionally until the courgettes and the tomatoes are browned and soft. All told,that should take about 10 minutes tops.

While the courgettes and tomatoes are cooking cut your fillet(s) into 4 roughly equally sized portions, and with a very sharp knife, score the skin with 2 or 3 slits on each and lay the fillet portions skin side up on a grill tray. Drop a teaspoon of olive oil onto each of them and massage it into the skin with your hands.Then season and put under a hot grill (220 degrees C) for 5 minutes or until the flesh of the fish has gone from translucent to white.

As that bit didn't take a lot of effort, while that's grilling, put the chopped shallots, wine, vinegar, bay leaf and pepper corns into a saucepan and put on a high heat so it starts bubbling and reducing down quickly. Once the liquid has reduced by half, turn down the heat and add the cream and stir it all in. Again, you are waiting for it to reduce down, Now turn the heat down lower again and start adding the butter you have prepared, just a couple of cubes at a time. Whisking everything together after each cube, and keep going until the sauce thickens. Then pour it through a sieve so the smooth sauce ends up in a jug without all the lumpy bits and pepper corns.

Now just bring it all together. One top tip, before plating up the fish, run a blow torch over it to make the skin really crispy. Do the same with the courgettes and the tomatoes too. I don't generally go in for burned food but with this dish it really woks. Serve with chips or some light greens such as asparagus or french beans. Great with a cold glass of Muscadet.

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