Fried lemon hake

Fried lemon hake

Pescada frita

By
From
Lisbon
Serves
4
Photographer
Steven Joyce

This is a dish I first tried at Mar do Inferno, a seafood restaurant on the edge of Cascais, just down the coast from Lisbon. The fish is briefly marinated in lemon before cooking, giving a burst of flavour as you bite through the hot, crispy exterior.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
vegetable or sunflower oil, for cooking
4 hake fillets
1 lemon, juiced
generous pinch salt
4 turns the pepper grinder
1 egg
100g plain flour, seasoned with a little salt and pepper
plain Garlic & coriander rice, fried potatoes, to serve

Method

  1. Pour 4–5 cm of oil, or enough to submerge the fillets, into a deep pan, and place over a high heat. Heat until the oil reaches 180ºC on a pan thermometer, or until a cube of day-old bread, dropped into the oil, fizzes and browns in 30 seconds. Once the correct heat is reached, turn the heat down to medium.
  2. While the oil is heating, place the hake fillets in a bowl with the lemon juice, salt and pepper, turning them so they get a good coating in the marinade. Leave to marinate for about 5 minutes, but not too much longer as the acidic lemon juice will start to ‘cook’ the fish.
  3. Beat the egg in a wide bowl. Tip the seasoned flour into another wide bowl.
  4. Remove the first two fillets of fish from the marinade and dip them into the beaten egg, ensuring they are well covered. Next, dredge in the flour, again working to ensure that the flour thoroughly coats the fish.
  5. Carefully lower the fillets into the oil. Fry for about 5 minutes, until golden brown all over. If necessary, use tongs to carefully turn the fish, so both sides brown evenly. When cooked, remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  6. Repeat with the remaining fillets. Serve immediately, while hot and crispy, with plain or garlic and coriander rice or fried potatoes.
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