WHAT IS A HAKE?
It is a fish that comes in several colors. Red and white hake are considered authentic whereas silver hake (a.k.a. whiting) is a close relative. These fish are delicious despite a somewhat terrifying appearance. With an elongated body, long head and tooth-filled jaws, they almost look like an eel. A close relative to cod, hake grow up to 8 pounds (3.5 kg) and over 3 feet (0.9 m) in size. They thrive at depths of around 600 feet (182 m) when young, and as adults can go as low as 3,000 feet (914 m). Nocturnal carnivores, they prefer shallower waters when feeding. Though when the opportunity presents itself, they’re not above a quick bit of cannibalism! And this fish is considered a delicacy in European restaurants. With a mild flavor and delicate, flaky texture that firms up a bit under heat, it’s considered cod for the sophisticated foodie.
WHERE DO HAKES COME FROM?
They favor warmer waters like the southern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as well as the warmer parts of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. However some breeds are also found in the Northern Atlantic and colder climates as well.
WHEN ARE HAKES IN SEASON?
They are available year-round though June through November north of the equator is considered an ideal harvest time.
ARE HAKE A KEY INGREDIENT FOR BOUILLABAISSE?
This stew was invented by French Marseille fisherman to cook the fish they were unable to sell to anyone else. Hake was thrown in along with saffron, to add a touch of class to the dish. Check out this recipe from Chef Paul Flynn if you want to make it at home!
ARE HAKES HEALTHY TO EAT?
Yes they are! Hake are among the fish with the lowest levels of mercury. Rich in Omega 3 fats, protein and essential nutrients (selenium), hake are still low in saturated fat. And they’re not as oily a fish as say salmon.