Recipe: Hake with lemongrass and tomato salsa

By Josh Katz, November 28, 2011

We put this on the menu recently and it is incredibly popular. I love the balance of flavours and textures. The cherry tomato salsa has a good combination of sweetness from the tomatoes and red onion, sour from the vinegar, and heat from the chilli. It works with the meaty hake steaks. Israeli couscous gives some bite, which is why it is important you do not overcook it.

Serves 6


● 6 hake steaks, 200g-225g each
● Flour, for dusting the fish
● Olive oil, for frying

For the Salsa
● 125ml extra virgin olive oil
● 2 lemongrass stalks, outer stalk and base removed, thinly sliced
● 3 garlic cloves, chopped
● 1 thumb-sized knob of ginger, finely chopped
● 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
● 3 green chillies, deseeded and sliced
● 90ml red wine vinegar
● 500g cherry tomatoes
● 2 tbsp demerara sugar
● Juice of ½ lime
● ½ bunch spring onion, sliced
● ½ bunch coriander, chopped

For the Couscous
● 400g Israeli couscous
● 60ml olive oil
● 2 shallots, finely chopped
● 2 garlic cloves, minced
● 1.5ltr chicken stock
● 2tbsp parsley, chopped


To prepare the salsa
● Heat oven to 120˚C. Blitz two thirds of the olive oil, the lemongrass, two thirds of the garlic and ginger until fine.
● Season the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, 30ml of red wine vinegar and sprinkle with demerara and roast until they start to burst but retain their shape (approx 25 mins).
● Heat the remaining oil and over a medium-low heat, gently fry the red onion, green chilli and remaining garlic until starting to caramelise.
● Add the lemongrass and ginger paste and cook on a gentle heat for 10 minutes, then add the remaining vinegar. Turn up the heat and reduce by half.
● Add the roasted tomatoes and juices, bring to the boil. Squash some tomatoes using a wooden spoon to release their juices. Cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
● Remove from the heat, add the lime juice, spring onion and coriander and check for seasoning.

To prepare the couscous
● Heat the olive oil on a medium heat and sweat the shallots until softened. Add the minced garlic, sweat quickly and then add the couscous. Fry, stirring frequently, until golden brown.
● Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil, reduce heat and cook for approximately 15 minutes until cooked but still al dente. Remove from the heat and cool with the lid on to complete the cooking process. Season to taste and add the parsley.
● Dust the hake steaks in flour. Shake off the excess, season generously and shallow fry in olive oil until golden brown on both sides, ensuring it is cooked through.

To serve
● Place the couscous on the plate, with the hake on top and spoon a generous helping of the relish on top. Drizzle with olive oil.

Josh Katz is head chef at

Last updated: 11:15am, November 28 2011