Crispy hake with cauliflower purée, apples and walnuts
- March 2016
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 45 min, plus marinating
Forget fish and chips – Nathan Outlaw’s crispy hake recipe is the way forward! Add the cauliflower puree and you’re on to a real dinner winner.
- 51.4g (12.4g saturated)
- 47.4g (15.4g sugars)
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- 1 medium cauliflower
- 4 sustainable hake fillets, about 150g each, skinned and pin-boned (ask your fishmonger to do this if you’re not confident)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves, plus a few whole sprigs
- Finely grated zest 1 lime
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 200g gluten-free flour
- 220ml Sharp’s Cornish pilsner beer
- Light rapeseed oil for cooking
- 60g unsalted butter
- 2 crisp British eating apples
- 200g walnuts, toasted on a baking sheet in a medium oven until fragrant, then roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
- Around 1-2 litres sunflower oil for deep-frying
For the dijon dressing
- 1 banana shallot, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 4 tsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
- 150ml sunflower oil
You’ll also need…
- Digital probe thermometer
- For the dijon dressing, put the shallot, garlic, mustard and vinegar into a bowl. Whisk for 1 minute, then trickle in the oil, whisking continuously. Once all the oil has been incorporated and the dressing has emulsified (thickened), season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Prepare the cauliflower by cutting off and discarding the thick base, then dividing it into florets. Thinly slice a quarter of the florets lengthways, then put them into a bowl and reserve for the salad. Roughly chop the remainder of the florets for the purée.
- Cut each hake fillet into 4 equal-size pieces. Mix the chopped coriander, lime zest, cumin, cayenne and a good pinch of salt in a bowl. Add the hake and toss to coat. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge (covered) or somewhere cool.
- To make the batter, put the flour in a mixing bowl and pour in the beer, mixing constantly with a balloon whisk until smooth. Season with salt, then keep covered in the fridge.
- Heat a lidded saucepan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of oil and the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the roughly chopped cauliflower and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, so it doesn’t colour. Add just enough water to cover the cauliflower, bring to a simmer, then put the lid on. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender, checking the water level occasionally to make sure it doesn’t go dry. Drain the cauliflower, put in a blender, then whizz until smooth (or whizz in the pan using a stick blender). Put back in the pan if necessary, then cover.
- Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Add to the reserved thinly sliced cauliflower, sprinkle in the coriander sprigs, walnuts and chopped chives, then toss together.
- Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy-based pan to 180°C when tested with a digital thermometer. Dip each piece of fish into the batter to coat, shaking off any excess, then carefully lower them into the hot oil and deep-fry for 3-4 minutes until cooked and crisp (you will need to do this in batches). Carefully lift out the fish, drain on kitchen paper, then season all over with salt and pepper. Keep the fish warm while you fry the rest.
- To serve, reheat the cauliflower purée, then spoon onto 4 warmed plates. Dress the cauliflower and apple salad with the mustard dressing and place next to the purée. Place 3-4 pieces of the crispy hake per portion onto the purée and serve immediately.
This recipe makes more dressing than you’ll need. Keep leftovers chilled for up to 2 weeks in a sealed jar.
Using gluten-free flour and pilsner (if you can’t find Sharp’s, any pilsner is fine) gives a light batter that crisps beautifully and won’t go soggy out of the fryer. Find gluten-free flour in all major supermarkets (we used Doves Farm, widely available).
Make the cauliflower purée up to 24 hours in advance, keep chilled and covered, then warm through before serving.
Dry vouvray from France’s Loire Valley is perfect here with its hints of crisp green apple and nuts.
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