The salting of food is one of the oldest methods of preserving food and has been around for centuries. The salting of fish changes the flavour, the texture and longevity of it also. Here I have served up a piece of hake which has been salted. Try it for yourself and see what you think! A tip for when cooking fish - Take a cocktail stick to check if your fish is cooked. If the stick goes through with ease then your fish is cooked, if there is still a bit of tension, give it another minute or so!

Serves 4


4 x Hake Fillets/ Skinned/ (150g portions)

200g table salt

1 x large white onion, diced

1 tbsp. tomato purée

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 x 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes

250 g yellow split peas

Sea salt

Ground Pepper

Vegetable oil

1 x Aubergine

50g Flaked Almonds

1 X Lemon


Pre heat oven to 180c – Gas Mark 4

First you need to salt the cod. Placed the hake fillets onto a tray and cover with the table salt. Leave these for 12minutes. Wash off after this time and pat dry with a cloth. This is better done 24 hrs in advance as the salt allows the fish to firm up.

In a large frying pan, cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of oil over a low heat. After 10 minutes, add the tomato purée, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, ½ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper, chopped tomatoes and split peas.

Pour in about 500ml of water and simmer everything over a low heat for 45 minutes or until the split peas are soft.

For the Aubergine slice it into strips length ways. Heat a char-grill pan with a small amount of oil until it is almost smoking then carefully lay the aubergines into the pan. Season with a small amount of salt. Turn down the heat slightly and cook for around 4 minutes, turn over the aubergine and repeat on the opposite side.

To cook the hake heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan, when the oil is hot carefully lay the piece of fish into the pan. Do not season as you have already salted the fish. Cook on a medium heat for around 2-3 minutes then finish in the oven for around 2 minutes. Remove from the oven, add a squeeze of lemon juice to finish.

To complete the dish I have toasted some flaked almonds which you can do on a baking tray under the grill or in a dry frying pan. Roasted broccoli also goes well with this dish!

If your unable to source hake it can be substituted for any other type of fish such as cod, coley or haddock. Just ensure you set a timer when you’re salting! Enjoy!