- 500 g fresh hake
- salt, to taste
- white pepper, to taste
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 100 g flour
- 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
- 200 g panko crumbs
- sunflower oil, for deep-frying
- 2 avocados, halved
- 1 cucumber, peeled into ribbons
- 5 Israeli cucumbers, shaved into ribbons
- purple microherbs, to garnish
- For the lime aïoli:
- 1 free-range egg yolk
- 1 T white wine vinegar
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 1 t Dijon mustard
- sugar, a pinch
- 1 cup canola oil
- ½ t salt
- black pepper, to taste
Flake the hake into a bowl, season and add the lemon zest. Using your hands, roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls.
Coat the balls in the flour, beaten egg and panko crumbs. Chill for 30 minutes. Heat the oil to 160°C in a saucepan.
Deep-fry the balls in small batches for 5 minutes.
Cut the avocado halves into wedges, then squeeze over the lemon juice to stop the avocado from discolouring.
To make the lime aïoli, quickly blend the egg yolk, vinegar, lime juice, mustard and sugar in a food processor or blender. With the motor running, slowly add the canola oil in a steady stream until it has emulsified. Add the salt, pepper and lime zest and any other seasoning you may like. If it is very thick, add 1–2 T warm water to thin it down.
Serve the fish balls with the lime aïoli, avocado and cucumber ribbons. Garnish with lemon and lime zest and microherbs.
Cook’s note: For a quicker version of the aïoli, add lime zest, juice, salt and pepper to thick, store-bought mayo.
On a hot day, I was worried about what to serve the kids that would be light and healthy. I held my breath as I took the platter to the table, but they loved them.