Caryl’s Hake Fillets with a parmesan crumb topping

My Story…
Our family has always loved fish. As long as I can remember we had fish at least once a week, either fresh or as fish cakes or in a pie. Living in such close proximity to the sea, there is no excuse for us not to enjoy it often.

My dad loved going to the Cape Town Harbour, walking along the pier right to the end, where there was a lighthouse. We passed the fisherman on our way all eager for their catch of the day – my dad loved chatting to these men who had many interesting fishing stories to tell. He did not buy from these fisherman, as they caught for themselves, but we walked up to the fish market in the Harbour where fish were sold. There is nothing left there today which remains of this simple and interesting way of life – loud voices and strong fishy smells and lots of noise!

I remember the porpoises diving and jumping for the entrails that were thrown into the harbour water from the ladies who cleaned the fish, and the seagulls jealously searching to get their share!! The ‘Fishwives’ is another forgotten thing of the past, so called because they had fantastic loud voices and screeched over each other to tell us the best buys & prices. They each thought that theirs was the best in town! They gutted and cleaned the chosen fish for us, then wrapped it in newspaper and handed it to my dad with a wonderful toothless smile! They were such interesting characteristics who always earned a ‘bob’ or two extra from dad for their efforts. These people were the real salt of the earth! On reaching home, Dad & us children then eagerly presented Mom with this parcel of fish which she generally fried in a little oil and served with chips! Bliss for Saturday night’s supper!

We were fortunate to get all this lovely fresh fish, probably yellow tale or cob in those days – I have hake in the recipe, but any fish of your choice is good. Baking is also a whole lot easier and less messy than frying. This recipe is a lovely change….Enjoy!!

My Recipe – Hake fillets with a Parmesan Crumb Topping
6 thick pieces of skinned Hake fillet
4 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Juice & rind of 1 lemon
1 ½ cups ciabatta crumbs
3 tbsp. Basil pesto
60g grated parmesan cheese.

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Method
• Wash and pat fish dry. Drizzle a little olive oil in a suitable size baking dish.
• Place fish fillets in dish and squeeze lemon juice over each piece & season with salt & pepper.
• Spread ½ tbsp. pesto onto each piece. Blitz ciabatta in your machine, then mix in Parmesan cheese. Cover fish generously with this and drizzle over a little olive oil all over.
• Bake in 180° oven for about 20 – 25 min till a little browned
• Serve with potatoe salad and quartered hard boiled eggs

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Delicious with Esona Sauvignon Blanc