Hake with cockles, bacon and leek sauce

A wonderful Welsh dish that is equally lovely to shop for. Buy whole hake and ask for it to be filleted (head and bones kept) rather than buy expensive ready filleted fish.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 whole hake, filleted and each fillet cut in half to make 4 portions
  • Head and bones of fish, simply simmered for 20 minutes with a bit of onion or leek top to make a stock
  • 1 small leek, washed and finely sliced
  • 1/2 rashers of streaky bacon, thick cut, and cut into dice
  • 2 tbsp cockles
  • 125ml cream
  • 100ml white wine or vermouth
  • Butter or oil for frying


  • Fry the bacon until crisp and set aside. Make a leek cream sauce by sweating the leeks in butter and then adding the wine and let it reduce and add about 50ml of the stock and let that reduce by half. Now add the cream and bring to the boil. Turn down to simmer, add the bacon and cockles and set aside until you need it.
  • Now it’s time to pan fry your hake. Get a non-stick frying pan hot, put a little oil in, season the fish on both sides and put in the pan skin side down for 2 minutes. Don’t be tempted to move it until you’re ready to turn it over or it will ruin the lovely skin, and this you want to be crispy. Turn over and cook for another 2 minutes and then place on a warm plate with some of the sauce spooned over. Serve with new potatoes and seasonal vegetables or just a piece of bread and a simple salad.

Copyright Danny Rees 2012