Mark Greenaway: Orange cured hake, mandarin gel

Orange Cured Hake, Mandarin Gel, Tomato, Beetroot, Pea Shoots. Pic: Paul Johnston - Copper Mango
Orange Cured Hake, Mandarin Gel, Tomato, Beetroot, Pea Shoots. Pic: Paul Johnston - Copper Mango
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It is no accident that I am about to share my third hake recipe since my column began.

Three weeks ago I spoke about hake and the versatility of this white fish. So far I have shared some great main course options but here I show you how truly flexible it can be by curing it for an alternative fish starter.

Hake has been named the UK’s most sustainable fish and we are still eating only 1.5 per cent of it. It seems that many cooks are unsure of what to do with this abundant ingredient – I am here to help!

Curing is the method of preserving by salting, drying, pickling or smoking. When it comes to fish, it was the original preserving method. On sailing vessels fish were usually salted down as soon as they were caught to prevent spoilage. Curing fish means a delicate texture with a developed flavour that is perfect for a light and interesting starter. All elements of this dish can be prepared in advance with only the plating up left to do when your guests arrive – making it the perfect, stress-free start to any dinner party.

Ingredients

(serves 4)

200g caster sugar

150g sea salt

1 orange, zest and juice

5 dill stalks

1 side of hake, skin off, bones removed

3 mandarins

200g caster sugar

6 cherry tomatoes

Method

Hake

Mix all of the ingredients (excluding the hake) together and put into a tray.

Cut the hake in half lengthways. Lay hake on top and spread the cure all over the fish.

Clingfilm the tray and place in the fridge for ten hours. Turn the fish twice during this ten hours.

Wash the cure off the hake. Clingfilm the fish into two rolls. Place the rolls back in the fridge.

Mandarin gel

Remove the skin from two of the mandarins.

Place all of the mandarins and sugar in a blender and blend until smooth.

Pass through a fine chinois or sieve.

Tomatoes

Place the tomatoes into boiling water for ten seconds.

Drop them into iced water.

Remove the skins.

Cut each tomato in half.

To garnish the dish

Pea shoots.

Slices of raw beetroot.

To serve

Cut the hake into rounds and remove the clingfilm.

Arrange the hake, mandarin gel, tomatoes, beetroot and pea shoots on four plates. Enjoy!