Hake Florentine


4 hake cutlets (or cod, haddock, coley, etc.)
1/3 cup (75 g) butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
squeeze of lemon juice
675 g (1 1/2 lb spinach
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tbs (25 g) wholemeal flour
1 1/4 cup (1/2 pint) 300 ml skimmed milk
2 tomatoes, sliced
100 g (4 oz) gruyere cheese, grated


1. Lightly butter a sheet of aluminium foil. Season the hake cutlets, sprinkle with a squeeze of lemon juice and top with a few knobs of butter.

2. Place in the foil and parcel up. Place on a baking tray and bake in a moderate oven (180°c, 350°f, gas 4) for 20 minutes or until just tender.

3. Cook the spinach in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes then drain and squeeze out all the moisture. Chop finely.

4. Melt 25 g (1 oz) of the butter and gently cook the onion and garlic. Cool slightly and mix into the finely chopped spinach.

5. Make the sauce with the remaining 25 g (1 oz) butter, flour and milk and add the juices from the cooked cutlets.

6. Make a base of spinach in an ovenproof dish which has been lightly greased, and make four dents in this base in which to place the cutlets. Cover with the sauce and make an overlapping line of sliced tomatoes over the dish.

7. Top with the grated cheese and a sprinkling of paprika then brown under a grill or bake in a hot oven 220°c (425°f) gas 7 for 8 to 10 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Serves 4