Luke Holder’s Fish Stew With Fillets Of Hake


Dig your spoon into this complex yet hugely rewarding fish stew recipe

Using hake and gurnard – two less popular but no less flavoursome and often more sustainable fish – Luke combines a number of ingredients to give this dish great depth and character.

For the stew:
• 3kg gurnard bones and head
• 3kg hake bones and head
• 4 carrots, diced
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 bulbs of fennel, diced
• 4 onions, diced
• 1 tbsp of fennel seeds
• 3 tbsp of olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves
• 500ml of water
• 4 celery sticks, diced
• 2 leeks, diced
• 2 star anise
• 1 bunch of tarragon
• 4 tbsp of tomato purée
• 6 pinches of saffron
• 400g of canned plum tomatoes
• salt
• pepper

For the fish:
• 6 hake fillets
• 6 gurnard fillets
• 1000ml of olive oil

For the potatoes:
• 1000g of new potatoes, peeled
• 2 pinches of saffron

To serve:
• 3 tbsp of fresh coriander, finely chopped
• 3 tbsp of fresh tarragon, chopped
• 1/2 lime, juiced
• 1 dash of saffron vinegar

For the stew, heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Place the fish bones and heads in a roasting tin with a little olive oil and roast for 20 minutes.
2 In a separate pan, roast the carrots, celery, onions, leeks, fennel, star anise, fennel seeds, garlic, tarragon and bay leaves until the vegetables start to colour. When the bones and vegetables are nicely coloured, add everything to a fresh pan with the tinned tomatoes and tomato purée.
3 Cover with water and simmer for 35 minutes. Pass the fish soup base through a conical strainer, pressing the solids to extract all the flavour.
4 Mix the water and saffron together. Add to the soup base then use a hand blender to blend the soup. Heat the soup in a clean pan, check the seasoning and simmer until reduced by 2/3, then leave to cool before chilling in the fridge.
5 To prepare the potatoes, top and tail the new potatoes to make them barrel shaped. Cook them in a pan of seasoned water with 2 pinches of saffron for about 15-20 minutes, or until tender. The water should be quite yellow. Drain.
6 To cook the fish, place the gurnard and hake fillets into a large dish so they fit snugly (you may have to do this in batches if you do not have a large enough dish) and cover with enough olive oil to submerge the fillets – roughly a litre.
7 Cook in the oven for 18 minutes at 140°C/gas mark 2.
8 When tender, remove the fish from the oil and allow to drain on some kitchen paper. Finish the fish soup with some left over chopped coriander and tarragon, saffron vinegar, and fresh lime juice, place a gurnard and hake fillet into each bowl and pour over some soup. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Luke Holder, originally published for



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