A cousin of haddock, hoki and cod, hake is South Africa’s favourite fish. This deep-water species has delicious flaky white meat with few bones, and is a great sustainable choice in these little fish balls.
- For the polpette
- 600 g MSC hake fillets (Or any other MSC flaky white fish e.g. haddock or cod)
- 1 shallot or small onion (chopped)
- 3 sprigs fresh dill
- 3 sprigs flatleaf parsley leaves
- 1 sprig fresh mint leaves
- 150 g mashed potato (at fridge temp)
- olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- For the dill yoghurt:
- 1 cup thick Greek yogurt
- 3-4 sprigs fresh dill (finely chopped)
- 1/2 lemon (zested)
- 1 clove garlic (peeled and finely grated)
- For the pickled cucumbers:
- 400 g small cucumbers
- 150 ml water
- 10 g white sugar
- 10 g salt
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 g yellow mustard seeds
1. To make the pickles, use a pin to prick each cucumber a few times. Heat the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, bay leaves and mustard seeds, not letting the mixture come to the boil.
2. Pack the cucumbers tightly into a large, sterilized jar and pour over the brine, ensuring the cucumbers are completely covered. Tightly close the lid and leave the cucumbers to pickle for a week. Refrigerate after opening.
3. For the polpette, place the hake, shallot and herbs into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. In a bowl, combine the hake mixture with the cold mashed potato, egg and flour. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Use a spoon to shape the mixture into small balls, arranging them on a lined baking sheet. Refrigerate the polpette for an hour to firm up.
5. Pour about 1cm of olive oil into a heavy-bottomed frying pan and carefully lower each polpette into the oil. Fry the polpette over medium heat until brown on all sides, usually 5-8 minutes.
6. To make the dill yoghurt, combine the chopped dill, lemon zest and grated garlic with the Greek yoghurt. Finely chop two pickles and add them to the yoghurt, along with a 10ml of the pickling brine. Season with salt to taste and serve alongside the polpette.
Cook's note: Make the pickled cucumbers at least a week ahead or you can use store-bought pickled gherkins in the dill yoghurt. The pickled cucumber recipe makes 500 ml.
This recipe is an extract from the Marine Stewardship Council’s new Ocean Cookbook. The cookbook with the message ‘fish for tonight, and for tomorrow’ is a global collaboration between 18 award-winning chefs and 18 sustainable fishers from around the world, united in the belief that sustainable fishing is a must if we are to protect our oceans.