LAWRENCE MURPHY: The apple that doubles as a lemon: perfect with hake

Apple sauce for hake
Apple sauce for hake
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Some of our customers are fortunate enough to have Bramley apple trees in their gardens which are producing so much fruit they don’t know what to do with it all.

uckily for me they are giving the odd kilo or two to me so we can produce such classics as apple fool and apple pies.

Most people associate this cooking apple with sweet desserts from their childhood and I fondly remember tucking into huge bowls of apple crumble with custard as a child.

This very British fruit can also be used in savoury dishes and is often a great accompaniment to roast pork and crackling.

If you have ever been inquisitive enough to take a bite of a raw Bramley you will have noticed how sharp they are and will agree that the acidity is nearing that of a citrus fruit. After tasting the flesh of a Bramley I decided it could replace lemon or lime in certain fish dishes as long as it wasn’t over-sugared.

In this recipe I use griddled fennel and sharp apple purée to enhance the flavour of the hake. The apple purée has a lovely smooth texture which contrasts with the crunch of the fennel.

Apple sauce for hake


4 x 200g hake fillets

1 Bramley apple

25ml olive oil

20g sugar

40ml water

Sea salt

2 fennel bulbs

Sorrel leaves for garnish


1. Peel, core and dice the apple and put in a saucepan.

2. Add the sugar, water, oil and salt.

3. Heat, gently stirring occasionally until the apple softens.

4. Liquidise and push through a fine sieve. Taste and season.

5. Heat a griddle pan.

6. Slice the fennel through the core in thin strips. Brush with olive oil and cook on both sides for two minutes on the griddle pan (you may have to do this in batches and keep warm).

7. Brush the hake fillets with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

8. Bake in a preheated oven 220C/gas 7 for 10 minutes.

9. Arrange the fennel on plates. Dot the apple sauce around and top with the hake.

10. Finish with the sorrel leaf.

Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth (