Did you know that hake is not a low-end fish? In the United States, hake is regarded as a low-end fish because it tends to get mushy after cooking. The problem was however with the handling of the fish and not the quality. Hake fish is a member of the cod and haddock family. In some culinary practices, hake is being used as a replacement for cod.
There are different varieties of hake fish. When compared to its more popular cousin cod, hake is more of a white fish and isn’t pink like cod. When cooked, it is firm and doesn’t get mushy if you get it from the right vendor. Hake has various culinary uses which you are probably dying to know. But, let’s see how it tastes.
What does hake taste like? Hake has a very mild taste, with a flavor similar to that of cod. It is sweet and slightly meaty. It also has a creamy color after it has been well cooked. There are different species of hake so the taste might vary with species.
Many people that have had hake have commented that it does taste fishy at all. A blind taste test for fish was carried out at Salford University and hake came out on top as the most preferred taste.
Hake is now known as the new cod because it is cheap, delicious, and sustainable. Sustainable in the sense that they are not an endangered species yet. What health benefits does this whitefish have to offer the human body?
Nutritional Benefits of Hake
Fishes are known for providing the human body with protein. Hake is a great source of quality protein. In each portion of 150 grams of hake, protein takes up about 16%. This means that for 150 grams, you have 24 grams of protein. The protein in hake is deemed to be of high quality because of its digestibility and bioavailability.
Hake contains amino acids and meets the nutritional characteristics established for every protein source. Hake contains two Omega-3 fatty acids that can protect cells, they also have anti-inflammatory properties. These omega-3 acids are EPA and DHA.
Hake is not lacking in minerals, it has the highest selenium content for a fish. Hake doesn’t only have selenium, it also has potassium and phosphorus in significant amounts.
Hake is a white fish because it has a low contribution of fat. The concentration of fat in the hake fish is barely up to 2 percent. Hake is also low in calories. This means that, for every 150 grams of hake fish, you have 108kcal.
Hake fish is special because its store of vitamins is mainly B group vitamins. Hake has a very high concentration of niacin (B3) and vitamin B12. Hake fish contains twice the amount of the minimum intake amount recommended for these vitamins.
Culinary Uses of Hake Fish
Hake has a subtle flavor, even more, subtle than cod. The flesh of hake naturally is very soft, so soft that the fish gets bruised a lot during the handling process. But, after cooking, it becomes firm and meaty and doesn’t feel like you are eating fish at all. This property has made hake fish very suitable for various forms of culinary practices.
Hake can be sautéed, baked, broiled, smoked, steamed, or deep-fried. There are endless ways in which you can make your hake into a great dish. Hake fish is used as the primary ingredient for Surimi. This originates from Japan and a paste made from meat or fish. A lot of Eastern Asian cuisines require the use of this paste. Hake is not the only fish that can be used for this product, other fishes, even meat can be used.
Hake can be cooked whole, only after it has been gutted, and the gills removed. While it is whole, it can be roasted, barbecued, poached, or cooked en papillote. Hake can be used to make hake fillets, all you need to do is, cure the fish for 1 or 2 hours in a mixture of salt, citrus, sugar, and herb. Then, you go on to cook en papillote with lemon and dill.
Hake is compatible with a lot of things. In Spain, hake is consumed a lot. It is often partnered with clams in the Basque country. In other places like Catalunya, it is often accompanied with potatoes together in a stew. In other parts of the world, hake is paired with Indian Curry. In Thai-style fishcakes, hake is used as a filling.
Where Does Hake Originate From? How Do You Procure It?
There are 13 different species of hake fish. Each species of this fish can be found in various parts of the world. For example; Gayi hake is found in the North Pacific Ocean, Senegalese hake is found in West Africa Off the Atlantic coast, Silver hake is found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Depending on the species, hake can be found in sea and ocean water bodies.
Hake is not hard to procure, in many fish markets, it is becoming more favored over cod. If you check for hake in fish markets, you should find it.
Is Hake Better than Cod?
The flavor of hake might be subtler than cod but it is a superior fish. Hake is succulent and is slightly sweeter than cod. It is cheaper than cod and is more versatile for culinary uses. It can also be enjoyed throughout the year.
Facts You Don’t Know About Hake
- In Argentine waters, hake has suffered from overexploitation. At least 80 percent of adult hake has disappeared from the region.
- The highest demand for hake is in Europe. Spain has the highest consumption with a yearly consumption that could go up to 13 pounds per individual. Countries like France, Italy, and Portugal also eat a lot of hakes.
- Hakes have a lifespan that could be as long as 14 years and grow up to 60 pounds in weight and 40 inches in length.