Cheesy Breaded Hake


his recipe is a perfect Monday night dinner to start the week on a healthy note and get some flavour after perhaps (I mean I’m just suggesting….) a boozy weekend…ahem..? The fresh delicate flavour of the fish, the slight decadence of the greasy fried cheesy breadcrumbs with a good squeeze of lemon and the sharp tang of a few gooey capers satisfied all my cravings in one. With a fresh crunchy salad with yet more lemon it cheered a soggy Monday after what was the worst day of rain we’ve had in long time. So after laying out my running shoes and the entire contents of my running rucksack to dry I cracked on with priority two….dinner.

I’ve left the measurements vague. Its really dependant on how many you’re cooking for and how cheesy you like it. And I’ll admit, after a soaking run home I wasn’t really in the mood to measure for the sake of this blog post as that really does take away the ease and love of this recipe for  Monday night. No rules, no orders, just guidelines…..Experiment!

  • White fish fillets – use a meaty fish here. I used hake but cod, haddock, tilapia, whiting, monkfish etc all work too (skinned)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Parsley, chopped roughly (reserve a handful for garnish)
  • Lemon, zest and juice (1 between 2)
  • Egg, beaten (Around 1 per fillet)
  • Plain flour
  • 1 heaped 2tsp capers per person
  • Sunflower oil, 1 large knob butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C..
  2. Place the flour in a small bowl and the beaten egg in another.
  3. The measurements for the coating are loose….use as many breadcrumbs as you require for the number of fish fillets. Use about a quarter of the weigh in breadcrumbs for the cheese and as much parsley as you dare. One very large handful of breadcrumbs usually accommodates 1 fillet but it depends on size and if you’re double dipping (see step 4)! Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  4. Taking your fish fillets, dip first in the flour and dust off the excess then dip in the egg. Then plunge the fillets straight into the breadcrumbs and coat well. Repeat with a second layer of egg and breadcrumbs if you like a thick coating. It will be a messy job, press the coating into the fish as best you can.
  5. Place the fillets on a plate and chill for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat a large deep saucepan with a good layer of sunflower oil and a knob of butter.
  7. When hot but not smoking, add your chilled fish fillets and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Flip and repeat until you have a toasted solid golden crust. Either continue to cook throughout in the pan or finish in the oven until cooked to your liking (depends on the fish size but around 7-8 minutes).
  8. Whilst finishing cooking or whilst the fish rests, chop the capers roughly with the remaining parsley. Add the zest of the lemon and combine. Garnish over the crispy fillets with half a wedge of lemon on the side to squeeze over.

Serve with fresh vegetable, salad or some big sweet potato wedges. A tartare sauce wouldn’t go amide here either…or a lemony yoghurt. Being in the wine trade, I’m also dying to advise a wine that would go perfectly here but seeing as its Monday and a healthy start I won’t. But if you were to open a bottle of something sharp and zesty like a Chenin Blanc then you wouldn’t be going far off…ahem….cheers.