Pan fried hake with preserved lemon and yellow tomato butter beans

Hake is a beauty of a fish that is so underappreciated. We love it in Ireland, the Spanish love it too. In a way, I am glad that it isn’t hugely popular here as it makes it quite affordable. That big piece of hake in the photo came in at under £5 in an excellent but expensive London fishmonger. It flakes gently and has a beautiful light flavour. It works very well with big things like chorizo but it also plays well with gentler things like these summery beans.

I always have preserved lemons in the fridge. They are so easy to source now and lend a bright floral and sharp acidic note to many things. Sure, you can make them, and I sometimes do, but the Beldi preserved lemons that you get in jars in most UK supermarkets now (both Belazu and Odysea have them in their range) are very special and for the price, terrific value. They go super well with floral yellow tomatoes, especially the big beef ones which I stock up on every week throughout the season at the farmers market. Of course, you can use other yellow tomatoes or even red tomatoes too. The yellow tomatoes I use are very fleshy and have at least the same as one tin.

For the beans, use your favourite white bean. Here I used greek gigantes or the big plump white beans. If you have my book you will know that I love to cook beans in batches and use them throughout the week. If that is not something you want to do feel free to use a tin.

This is a simple recipe but it doesn’t taste it, and it just happens to be gluten and dairy free. Enjoy!

Pan fried hake with preserved lemon and yellow tomato butter beans
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Pan fried hake with preserved lemon and yellow tomato butter beans


  • 1 piece of hake for one person (I like it on the bone)
  • 250g cooked butter beans / one drained tin
  • 2 preserved lemons (I use the beldi ones which are quite small, a little smaller than a ping pong ball)
  • 1 large yellow beef tomato or 3 yellow plum tomatoes (substitute red if yellow aren’t available)
  • Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • Sea salt
  • fresh basil and chives
  • good oil for frying (extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil are good choices)


  • Cut the lemons in half and remove any pips. Chop finely.
  • Peel your tomatoes. It sounds like a faff but it makes a huge difference to the finished dish. Cut a shallow x at the base of the tomato, just piercing the skin. Cover with boiling water, drain, and it will peel easily. Remove the tough core and chop.
  • Put some oil in a pan and add the tomatoes and preserved lemon. Cook for about 20 minutes over a medium heat at which point the tomato will be breaking down. Add the chilli and season with sea salt. Reduce the heat (add hot water if it looks too thick) and cook the fish in a separate pan.
  • Put some oil in the pan and add the fish. Fry the fish over a high heat so that it gets a nice crust. Depending on how big the fish is, you will want to cook it on all sides. The piece I used was large so I cooked it on all four sides for a few minutes each side, seasoning with sea salt and Korean pepper as I did. Always aim to have a nice crust on the outside but for the centre to be almost underdone (see picture above).
  • Add finely chopped chives and roughly torn basil to the beans and serve the fish on top.
  • Enjoy

    Other lovely Summer recipes on Eat Like a Girl 

    Greek Fava Recipe – Summer Joy

    Summer Tart: Asparagus, Pancetta, Egg & Tomato

    Vietnamese Summer Rolls Two Ways: Chilli Salmon & Samphire Rolls and Pork Belly & Crackling Rolls

    Speedy Summer Supper of Rice Noodles with Chilli Pork & Peanuts

    Monkfish Cheeks with Tomato and Chorizo Ragu



    Written by Niamh
    Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.