Light and tender, fresh hake for dinner is surely one of the loveliest meals in the world, especially when you have access to really fresh fish. Served with a dollop of creamy garlic mayonnaise and golden potato chips, it’s a huge treat anytime of the year, for lunch or dinner alike. Enjoy it with a crisp glass of Creative Block 2.
Note: If you’re not keen on making aioli from scratch, use store-bought mayonnaise with a clove of finely grated garlic and a squirt of lemon juice.
For the crusted hake: (serves 4)
• 4 slices white bread
• 1/4 cup (60ml) grated parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup (60ml) chopped fresh herbs (sage, parsley and/or basil works well)
• 1/3 cup (80ml) cake flour
• salt & pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon (2,5ml) paprika
• 2 XL eggs
• about 600g hake fillets, preferably boneless, cut into individual portions
• about 1/4 cup (60ml) canola oil, for frying
For the aioli:
• 3 XL egg yolks
• 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
• 1 garlic clove, finely grated
• about 1/2 cup (125 ml) canola oil
• salt & pepper to taste
Make the aioli first: place the yolks, mustard, lemon juice and garlic in a tall cup (wide enough for your stick-blender to fit into) and blend with a stick blender. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream with your other hand, until the mixture emulsifies and forms a thick, smooth mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a wider dipping bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Make the crumbs: break the bread into large chunks and add it to a food processor along with the parmesan and herbs. Process to fine crumbs, then transfer to a shallow wide bowl.
Place the flour in another shallow wide bowl, season with salt and pepper, add the paprika and mix well.
Place the eggs in a third wide shallow bowl and whisk to break the yolk apart.
Dip each hake fillet in the seasoned flour, then into the eggs, then into the crumbs, making sure that you cover it all over. Place the crumbed portions on a clean plate, ready for frying.
In a large wide pan, heat the oil over medium heat, then fry the crumbed portions in batches on both sides until golden – it will colour quickly because of the parmesan, so don’t let it get too dark. Transfer the pieces to a lined baking tray and place in the preheated oven for about 6 to 8 minutes to finish cooking (adjust baking time according to thickness of fillets – very thin fillets might not require extra baking).
Serve hot with crispy potato chips and aioli.
About the wine: Creative Block 2
Gooseberries, limes and subtle cassis reveal this wine’s tropical character, while underlying notes of fynbos and a touch of white asparagus deliver serious depth. The palate is young and tropical, leading to a long, mineral tail that is tight and structured. Made with grapes hand-picked in the Tygerberg, Helderberg and Darling regions, the wine matured for 6 months on the lees before bottling.