With the wide range of nutrients that various kinds of fish contain, making it a part of your diet is one way of staying healthy. And, just because it is healthy does not necessarily mean that it is bland. So fish being healthy and tasty should be enough for you to serve it for lunch or dinner, right? It may well be so, but another aspect should be considered, and that is sustainability. We also need to be responsible for our food choices, not only in terms of our health but also in terms of their impact on the environment. If there is one kind of fish that is healthy, tasty, and sustainable all at the same time, it is hake.
Hake belongs to the cod family, and it can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, eastern parts of the Pacific Ocean, and along the coast of New Zealand. It has a long, slender body and silvery-grey scales on the back and white scales on the belly. It also has a large head and eyes, and its wide mouth are filled with large, sharp teeth. It can grow up to 14 to 42 inches long and can weigh up to 1 to 8 pounds. Young hakes feed on cephalopods and crustaceans, while adults feed on fish, such as herring and pilchard.
Hake is known as “saumon blanc” in France, which translates as white salmon. It has firm flesh, a white flaky texture, and a subtle flavour, although it takes strong flavours well with robust flavours, especially garlic, tomatoes, paprika, and chorizo.
Commonly caught in the Atlantic and North Pacific from November to March, hake is available both fresh frozen, sold either as a whole fish or gutted with the head intact, or as fillets. When buying it, see to it that it has bright eyes and red gills. If you choose to buy it filleted, make sure that it has firm white flesh with no discolouration, blemishing, or bruising.
Because of hake’s firm flesh, it can be prepared in various ways, from roasting to pan-frying it. If you wish to cook it whole, roasting is a great option, although it can also be poached. Moreover, because its flesh absorbs flavours very well, you can enhance its flavour by adding a generous amount of flavouring to the cavity and into the slashed flesh before cooking it. When cooking it filleted, one popular option is pan-frying it in a little lemon juice and bother. Or, you can poach it in fish stock, lemon juice, or wine.
Furthermore, the nutritional value hake provides should not be overlooked. It is a great source of protein and is low in saturated fat. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their various health benefits, such as helping reduce your risk of heart disease, protecting you against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and fighting depression.
Overall, you should not hesitate having hake on your menu. Not only is it pleasing to the palate, it is also healthy and sustainable.