Hake with Root vegetable Purée

The Baked Hake with Root Vegetable Purée is a favourite from ‘Shetland Food and Cooking’
I received puzzled looks as I skinned the lovely large fillet and passed it to the bairns in front of me. ‘What does that smell of?’ I asked – they looked relieved and replied – ‘the sea, really.’ Hake was a new fish for many of them but it is a really great, firm and meaty white fish, plentiful in Shetland and a good price too. Some squeezed lemon juice, freshly ground pepper and a bit of rind was added.
I had the puree half-made so all that had to be done was to put it into an ovenproof dish, add the hake and – bob’s your uncle! Into the preheated oven (160ºC) for about 20 minutes. Easy.

Ingredients

500g hake – steaks or fillets
1 lemon or lime – some of each is even better
Salt and ground pepper
250g Carrots – cut into chunks
250g Parsnips- cut into chunks
¼ nutmeg – freshly grated
100ml single cream
A handful of chopped parsley

Method

Light the oven 180°C and grease an ovenproof dish.
Prepare the hake by seasoning and adding the grated rind and juice of the lemon or lime. Set aside.
Make the vegetable puree by cooking the carrots and parsnips together in slightly salted water. Parsnips cook more quickly than carrots so put the carrots in first, bring to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the parsnips and cook until soft.
Drain well then return to the pan to steam dry for 2 minutes. Add the cream and puree using a stick blender.
Taste, then season with pepper, nutmeg and a little salt.
Spread over the bottom of the dish and place the hake on top pushing it down into the puree.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes especially if the pieces of fish are lovely and thick.
Sprinkle parsley over the top before serving.