Seaweed-steamed Hake with Nettle Gnocchi

Fat Hen Wild Cookery School Serves 4-6


For the Hake

1 side of hake fillet (400g approx.)
4 sheets of kelp fresh or dried soaked in cold water for 30 mins approx. 10 cm in length.
Selection of seaweeds to cover the base of the pan to sit the fish on, e.g. dulse, serrated wrack, carragheen

For the Pepper Dulse Beurre Blanc
(Serve 2-3 tablespoons per person)

3 tablespoons vermouth or white wine
3 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of finely chopped shallot/red onion
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon cream
6oz unsalted butter
Lemon juice
2 tablespoons of fresh pepper dulse (seaweed) or 1 of dried rehydrated in cold water

Plus 3 tablespoons poaching/steaming liquor from the fish

For the Nettle Gnocchi

Just over 1 kg spuds (choose a floury variety such as King Edward or Maris piper).
300g plain flour
2 egg yolks
A bunch of nettles – enough to fill a large mixing bowl when picked
50g Parmesan, grated



Nettle Gnocchi

Wash and blanch the nettles in salted boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, squeeze out as much excess water as you can from the nettles and chop them finely.

Boil the potatoes in their skins – until just cooked (erring on the side of undercooked).

Peel the skins and pass the potatoes through a potato ricer. Put the potato into a large bowl.

Add the flour, egg yolks, chopped nettles, grated parmesan and salt.

Bring together all the ingredients with you hands to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured worktop and knead it gently, bringing in plain flour to stop it sticking.

Break off small balls of dough and roll out into a long sausage shape on the worktop. Cut 1 inch pieces all the way along.

Roll each piece of gnocchi up the back of a fork in a flicking motion using the back of a teaspoon – this achieves the characteristic lines you see on gnocchi.

Blanch the gnocchi in boiling salted water – they are ready when they float to the top of the pan.

If not using immediately – put the gnocchi straight into a bowl of cold water to stop them continuing to cook, then drain and run through a further jug of cold water. Set aside.



Cut hake into 4 portions and season with salt and pepper.

Wrap the hake in the kelp and place on top of seaweeds in a shallow pan with about 3cm depth of water. Place on the lid and bring to the boil.

Turn down the heat and steam from approx 10 minutes.

Check the fish for firmness and turn off the heat while you make the sauce.
Pepper Dulse Sauce

Put the vermouth, the vinegar, the shallots and the poaching liquor in a stainless steel pan, boil and reduce it down to 1 tablespoon of liquid.

Add cream and reduce till the sauce thickens

Off the heat, whisk in the cold diced butter one piece at a time off the heat, keeping the sauce warm as you go.
To Serve

Heat some butter and olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the gnocchi and sear each piece until golden, turning once during cooking.

Unwrap the hake and serve with the gnocchi and a few tablespoons of beurre blanc spooned over.

Recipe: Caroline Davey at Fat Hen Wild Cookery School
Photographs: Tom Young