Hake & Pancetta

Hake & pancetta

One of my favorite fish and always a go to is cod. There is nothing like fresh cod, pan fried with grated horseradish, new potatoes and clarified butter. I am very sad to hear that it will go on the endangered species list at the end of this month.

I am very lucky to have a great fishmongers where I live, Jenkins & Son Fishmongers, and they suggested hake when I asked about a good option to cod.


Hake is a part of Seafood week so a great choice for dinner. As I walked home with my hake I was thinking of a black pudding crumble but in the end I couldn’t resist some pancetta for a surf n’ turf dinner.

Pacetta wrapped hake

preparation time 10 minutes

cooking time 8-12 minutes, depending on how thick the hake fillet is

serves 2


  • 1 hake fillet
  • 8 rashes of thin sliced pancetta
  • salt
  • oil for pan frying
  • butter for pan frying

Cut the fillet in half. Skin the thicker half and keep the skin on the other half. Feel the fish to make sure there are no bones left in the fillet, sometimes there can be one or two.

Salt the fish with rock salt and leave in the fridge for up to an hour. This will help firm the fish up.

Rinse the fish and pat it dry.

Pan fry the pancetta crispy, set aside and keep warm until serving.

Whilst the pancetta is frying cut the skinless part of the hake into slices, cut across the fillet, they should be the same thickness as the pancetta. Cut chives to the same length as the fish and pancetta. Place the chives in the middle of the fish and roll the pancetta around it. Secure the pancetta with a cocktail stick. Make four of these.

Cut the skin on fish into portion size pieces.

Add oil and butter to the hot pan and make sure it gets hot again before adding the fish.

Place the skin on fillet skin side down in the pan. Add the pancetta wrapped skinless hake to the same pan. Make sure the pancetta gets browned all the way around.

Turn the skin on hake fillets over when it is almost done. The opaque will become white once cooked. Turn the heat off in the pan and let stand for a few minutes for the fish to cook through and the fish to rest slightly before serving.

I did a chive sauce to go with the fish. This is a very simple but quick sauce. I didn’t have any cream that was my original idea so I used cream cheese and marscapone.

White chive sauce

preparation time 5 minutes

cooking time 5 minutes

serves 2


  • 1 bunch of chives, cut fine, abiut 1 1/2 dl or 3/4 cup
  • 2 dl or 1 cup milk
  • 2 dl or 1 cup fish stock
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp marscapone
  • zest and juice of about 1/4 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 15 gr or 0.5 oz butter (more, or less if you wish)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Melt the butter and add the flour. Let the flour cook for about a minute and gradually add the milk and fish stock.

Bring the sauce to a boil and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat down and add the cream cheese, nutmeg, marscapone and chives. Keep the sauce warm but don’t boil it. taste with salt and pepper.

I served the hake with pan fried potatoes. Hake is a little softer in texture than cod so I did pan fried potatoes to go with it. I added a handful of fresh spinach to the potatoes just before serving.

For plating the hake I removed the skin from the skin on fillet piece. I removed the cocktail stick from the pancetta and served with a cucumber salad, fresh, local watercress and a good olive oil.

Hake & pancetta

Hake is a delicious fish. The salting of the fish beforehand gave it a great texture. The flavor is delicate and the chives and watercress were a great match.

Cod was a staple in our home when I grew up and I absolutely love it but it is time to explore other fish. I have only eaten hake a few times before and it is a treat not to be missed if you see it in the shops.

2 Responses to “Hake & Pancetta”
  1. I never tried it but definitely interesting! And what a beautiful presentation!

    • petra08 says:

      hi Ribana
      Thank you!
      It is a very delicate fish and the salting of the fish before cooking helps firm it up as it has a softer texture than cod. Absolutely worth trying 🙂

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