Only half of the population of our country eat enough fish on a regular basis.
Two portions of fish a week is the recommended amount, which helps towards a healthy diet with a multitude of benefits.
The eyes should be bright, the gills red and the flesh firm on a fresh fish
If one of those is an oily fish packed with heart-healthy omega 3, all the better.
A lot of people are not happy cleaning and preparing fish, which leads them to buying prepacked portions. The trouble with this is that it is difficult to see how fresh the fish is.
Go to a good fishmonger so you can look at whole fish. The eyes should be bright, the gills red and the flesh firm on a fresh fish. You can then ask for your fish to be scaled, filleted and pin boned ( most good fishmongers will do this without any charge.)
So with all the hard work out of the way, all you need to do is pick a fish and cook it.
I have been using hake for many years as I love the texture and flavour of its white delicate flesh. Most of the hake caught in our waters are exported to Spain where they adore it, so if you are looking for recipes, Spanish cookery books are a good place to start.
Being a member of the cod family, it is well suited to our own classic combinations so here is a recipe for hake with parsley sauce.
Hake in parsley sauce
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 portions of hake fillet
A knob of butter
2 shallots, finely diced
150ml dry white wine
200ml fish stock
400ml double cream
1 bunch parsley, washed and picked
1. Make the parsley sauce first by cooking the onions in a knob of butter in a saucepan on a low heat for two minutes without colouring.
2. Add the white wine and reduce by half.
3. Add the fish stock and reduce by half again.
4. Now add the cream and cook for five minutes. The sauce should be glossy.
5. Pour into a liquidiser and add the parsley. Blend for two minutes.
6. If you like a silky sauce pass through a fine sieve. Keep warm.
7. Season the fish with sea salt and pan fry in a little olive oil skin side down for about five minutes. If you are worried about the fish sticking, put a piece of good quality greaseproof paper in the pan.
8. The flesh will cook through and become translucent.
9. Turn the fish over and carry on cooking for two minutes.
10. Place the fish in bowls and pour the sauce around it.