Breaded hake with green sauce, pak choi and lentils


This works with any meaty white fish: pollock/coley, rock turbot, cod, haddock (and monkfish, but please only as a very occasional treat, there are question marks over its sustainability). Pak choi can be substituted for mushrooms or most greens: kale, spinach, spring greens and broccoli all work (though I clearly forgot to add any of these before taking pics). The green sauce looks like a long ingredient list, but it’s mostly store cupboard stuff and can be adapted to suit what you have lying around – leave out the gherkins, add olives, use watercress instead of rocket or leave it out entirely, use apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice etc. Sort of a salsa verde, it goes well with so many things – meat and fish, but it also perks pulses up or freshly cooked halloumi or goat’s cheese.

The breaded fish here is great for toddler meals, as are the lentils (crushed for babies so they’re not a choke risk) – a dot of the sauce might well go down a storm too, we certainly found so, but don’t forget it’s salty.

Serves 4

Green sauce:
2 teaspoons capers
1 anchovy
2 gherkins
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 good sprigs parsley
3 good sprigs mint
small handful rocket
1/2 clove garlic (save the other half for the lentils, below)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

200g yellow split peas or lentils (preferably green or puy)
1/2 clove garlic, crushed
2 shallots, finely chopped

550g meaty white fish, chopped into 3cm squares (bite-sized chunks, basically)
2 heads pak choi, leaves separated and large leaves halved

1 egg
150g breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons flour

Pre-heat the oven to 180C / gas 5. Set out three dishes – plates or small baking dishes – in a line. Put the flour in the first, crack and lightly beat the egg in the second, and spread most of the breadcrumbs over the base of the third (you might not need them all). Lightly oil a baking tray.

Rinse the split peas or lentils, tip them into a saucepan with the chopped garlic and shallots and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes until just cooked, then drain.

While that’s cooking, blitz all the green sauce ingredients in a food processor until almost smooth – a little texture is nice. Add more olive oil if necessary to make it a thick drizzling consistency.

Lightly coat the fish chunks in flour, then quickly dip them all over in the beaten egg and finally roll in the breadcrumbs until they’re totally coated. Arrange them on the baking tray and bake in the pre-heated oven for 12 – 15 minutes.

Wash the pak choi but don’t shake them too dry. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and throw in the leaves, quickly stir frying them until they start to wilt. Remove from the heat.

Spoon a bed of lentils onto a plate, crack over some black pepper and drizzle over a teaspoon of green sauce. Top with some pak choi, pile breaded fish on top and pour another tablespoon of sauce over everything.