Saturday, 11 February 2012

Hake cakes for chilly day....

We took a rare day off today as we've got friends staying with us from London. We've been blessed with some beautiful days since Christmas and it's easy to see why so many people decide to holiday here out of season. We wandered up to the shop to fill our baskets with fresh Cornish hake for tea, sausages for tomorrow's breakfast and a few beers to celebrate our friends arrival. After a wander around Samson Hill and a stroll along Rushy Bay we decided to walk to Tresco. Every now and again the tide between Tresco and Bryher is so low you can walk between the two islands without getting your feet wet....

We went for lunch at the New Inn on Tresco which was filled with other hungry islanders who had done the same thing. On the boat back we watched the crisp afternoon sun starting moving west and we knew we'd made the mistake of one layer too few as our hands started to freeze. We shuffled home across the beach as quickly as we could our coats pulled high around our necks. When you're that cold there was only one thing I could do with the fish I bought earlier. Something cosy and warming.....

Hake fishcakes with garlic and lemon mayonnaise..... (served 4 chilly people)

400g of hake fillets (usually about 2)
800g potatoes
a knob of butter
2 gherkins
a little flour

For the mayonnaise

1 egg yolk
sunflower oil
4 garlic cloves
a squeeze of lemon

Peel and boil the potatoes in salty water. When they are cooked take of the heat and drain. Put them in a bowl with the butter and mash. Add the chopped gherkin and season.

In a pan put a little water (about a cup or two for the fish to sit in.) Bring up to simmering point and add the fish. You don't really want the water to cover it. Let it cook half way up the side of the fish then carefully flip over and take off the heat. Leave for five or ten minutes. Remove from the water and peel off the skin and flake into the potato. I try to create big chunks because once you start mixing it all breaks down. Carefully mix together the fish and potatoes.

Shape into fish cakes (about 12) and dust with flour. Fry in a mixture of sunflower oil and butter. Carefully flip over when it is browned. I had to do this in two batches. Pop in a 180'c oven for another 10 minutes.

While it's in the oven make the mayonnaise. Put the egg yolk in a clean bowl and give it a whisk. Slowly start dripping in a little oil at a time while continuing to whisk. (This takes a while). If you want a measurement for the oil it should be somewhere between 150ml-200ml but I tend to go less rather than more. But keep tasting it to see if it looks and tastes like mayonnaise. Crush the garlic with the salt and add to the mayonnaise with a squeeze of lemon.

Serve the hake cakes with a wedge of lemon, some steamed spinach and the mayonnaise.