Don’t panic Don’t panic! I’ve not completely lost all of my marbles! All will make sense! By now you will have clicked that I have a, some would say, an obsession, for the fantastic Hake, and also an admiration for the fishermen who ” do their thing ” to enable me to, well, do my thing, so I’m constantly looking for ways to cook and showcase ( hate the term, but it fits) this glorious fish that has taken over my later cooking years

Most of the dishes I do are either fillets of, or steaks of, Blah Blah Blah, but I’ve not cooked the whole beauty! So…………. here is the one, I’m a huge spice fan also, I don’t claim to know a huge amount about the subject, other than I enjoy eating it! Hake takes on spices well, as long as not too over powering, As for the hay! I’ve read somewhere that it is a method used in Goan cookery, but again I’m not an expert so please! No heckling x

This recipe is best cooked in a pizza oven, on a BBQ, over charcoal or open fire

Shopping list

For the Goan curry paste

6 large mild, fresh red chilli

4 tsp cumin seeds

4 tsp coriander seeds

10 cloves

20 black peppercorns

4 tsp ground turmeric

20 large cloves of garlic, peeled

2 large pieces of fresh ginger, peeled

1 whole piece of cinnamon stick

4 tsp tamarind paste

4 tsp sugar

4 tsp salt

300ml white wine vinegar

Method for the Goan paste

Basically

Blend all the ingredients together to make a fine paste.

For the hay baked hake

1 whole hake (gutted and cleaned)

Sack full of dry hay

Salt to taste (rock salt)

You can even wrap the Hake in banana leaves and cook in the same way.

Method for cooking the Hake

1. Liberally dampen the hay with cold water

2. Carefully make slashes in the flesh of the Hake on both sides

3. Place a thick layer of damp hay on a grill tray

4. Rub your Goan spice paste into the Hake on both sides and inside the cavity

5. Carefully lay the Hake onto the damp hay and top with another layer of damp hay

6. Make sure that the hay completely covers the Hake leaving no gaps

7. Slowly and carefully place onto the hot coals, or on the pizza oven, the heat and steam will cook the Hake beautifully, cooking time will vary depending on how hot the oven etc is, but it’ll take about 25 minutes, keep a water spray to hand so you can keep spraying the hay with water to prevent burning

8. Remove the top layer of hay and serve immediately with some freshly chopped parsley and a liberal squeeze of lemon

Happy cooking

Jon

Written by Jon Fell

Head Chef Rosehill Theatre, Chef on the Simply Good Food TV app, run a Seafood Cookery Class at Peter Sidwell Cookery School, Newspaper food columnist

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