Fish for tonight, and for tomorrow.

I’m extremely honoured to announce that I’m part of the Marine Stewardship Council’s Ocean Cookbook – a 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. Shot by acclaimed photographer (and massive inspiration!) David Loftus, the cookbook highlights a range of global flavours – from fishy favourites to innovative twists – including my own recipe for herbed hake polpette with dill yoghurt and pickles.

Using seafood from 18 MSC certified fisheries, the free digital cookbook highlights how easy it is to create healthy, sustainable seafood and delicious dishes at home. As we see in a brand new year, take the time to make better food choices for both ourselves and our planet – blue foods are still the most sustainable and affordable protein sources and if we look after our oceans today, we’ll ensure that future generations can enjoy their bounty too.

Cooking with Cape Hake is always an absolute pleasure. I can count on Cape Hake for being simple to work with, reliably tasty and a great source of lean protein and Omega 3 fatty acids. It’s a fish that is as sustainable as it is delicious, which means that future generations of South Africans will get to enjoy everyone’s favourite seafood. Simply look for the blue MSC label on seafood packaging in-store.

You can download the free cookbook right here.

In the meantime, I’ve included my recipe for Herbed Hake Polpette with dill yoghurt and homemade pickles below. A fresh and zesty way to enjoy Cape Hake, polpette are little meatballs – perfect for a snack dinner or tomorrow’s lunchbox. Here I’ve served them with a herby, lemony yoghurt and crunchy homemade pickled cucumbers. Make the pickled cucumbers at least a week ahead or use store-bought gherkins in the dill yoghurt.  

Prep time: 20 mins plus 1 hour chilling /Cook time: 10 mins /Serves: 4

You will need:

  • 600g hake fillets
  • 1 shallot or small onion
  • 3 sprigs of fresh dill
  • 3 sprigs of fresh flatleaf parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh mint
  • 150ml mashed potato, at fridge temperature
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse ground sea salt and black pepper

For the dill yoghurt:

  • 250ml thick Greek yoghurt
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated

For the pickles:

Makes 500ml

  • 400g small cucumbers
  • 150ml water
  • 5ml white sugar
  • 10ml fine salt
  • 250ml white vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5ml yellow mustard seeds

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. 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. 

For the polpette, place the potato, shallot and herbs into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Slice the hake fillets into sections and add to food processor and blitz until combined. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Use a spoon to shape the mixture into small balls, arranging them on a lined baking sheet. Refrigerate the polpette for an hour or overnight to firm up.

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. Alternatively, drizzle a little olive oil over the polpette and bake on a lined sheet for 25-30 mins at 200°C. 

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 keep chilled until needed.

To serve, spoon a dollop of dill yoghurt into a dish and top with extra chopped pickles, a few of the polpette and a drizzle of olive oil over the top. 

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