“Hake is a seriously underrated fish but it’s great value and is good quality. It has a soft milky texture, which for me lends itself more to poaching in fat rather than roasting.

In our first Winter, our butter supplier, Grant from Ampersand, came to have a tasting menu lunch with his family. I was determined to include a dish on the menu that celebrated his amazing butter as well as serve it with our bread.

We decided to gently poach some hake that we had in butter before finishing it with a tiny amount of lemon juice. We also wanted to use the butter as a dressing for the dish. It was a hit with his whole family and you could tell they were all very proud of him. It is served with a selection of seaweed and sea vegetables that change as the availability changes.”  Paul Foster

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For the Hake

  • 400g thick hake fillet, skinned
  • 100g salt
  • 250g Grant’s butter
  • 1⁄2 lemon

For the Fennel

  • 1 small fennel bulb

For the Rapeseed Dressing

  • Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 200g extra virgin rapeseed oil
  • 50g chardonnay vinegar
  • Salt

For the Seaweed Selection Samples

  • Toothed wrack
  • Pepper dulse
  • Sea lettuce
  • Dulaman
  • Salty fingers
  • Sea aster


For the Rapeseed Dressing

  1. Whisk all ingredients together and season to taste.
  2. Transfer to a squeezy bottle.

For the Hake

  1. Cover the hake in salt and keep in the fridge for ten minutes.
  2. Wash well in cold water to remove all the excess salt and drain well.
  3. Wrap in a tea towel and leave for 2-3 hours in the fridge.

For the Fennel

  1. Clean the fennel and shave thinly on a mandolin length ways.
  2. Season with sea salt and the rapeseed dressing.
  3. Layer on top of each other and leave for 10 minutes to semi cure.

To Finish

  1. Portion the hake into 4 equal pieces and leave out for 10 minutes to come to room temperature.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan gently. Ensure the butter is around 2 inches deep in the pan and that it is big enough to hold all the portions of hake.
  3. Probe the butter to around 45°C and add the fish. Make sure the temperature stays between 40°C and 45°C and after about 6/7 minutes check that a skewer slides through the fish without resistance.
  4. Spoon the fish into a bowl and top it with the fennel and a selection of sea vegetables and seaweed.
  5. Add a tiny amount of lemon juice to the butter and dress the dish with the butter before serving.


Recipe Courtesy of Paul Foster of Michelin-starred Salt in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Paul Foster Chef Feature.