"Hake" is a term that is used to refer to several members of the cod family of fish. In all cases, true hake as a food is considered to be the lean sections of the cod. Not all types of cod qualify as this type of cooking fish. Generally, the term is reserved for deep-sea cod only.
As with many types of freshwater and saltwater fish, hake can be cleaned and filleted for various types of culinary preparation. The seafood can be baked, battered and fried, and it is even used in soups and stews in some cultures. Hake also can be served whole, and it is excellent for broiling in an oven or slow cooking on a grill.
Its agreeable texture and light flavor make this type of seafood very popular in many parts of Europe and in the United States. The fish freezes well — an attribute that makes it popular among the producers of frozen foods. Along with being used for pan frying or oven frying, white hake also is considered to be an excellent selection for poaching.
In addition to mincing it or cooking it whole, it is possible to create fish steaks from the cod. These steaks are somewhat like those made from salmon and can be prepared in much the same manner. The addition of lemon or lime juice, along with spices and herbs of choice, can create a tasty and heart-healthy entrée for lunch and dinner. Hake can be used to create a dramatic presentation for more formal meals or prepared simply for more casual gatherings.
For people who are conscious of avoiding the cholesterol content found in many red meats, preparing hake can be an excellent alternative. The fatty oils found in the fish are considered to promote the production of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, whereas red meats often are loaded with low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol. Fish also is considered to be essential for proper cardiovascular health and brain function, so it is beneficial for it to be eaten several times a week, possibly using a different recipe each time.
Hake's popularity and ease of cooking are why it is widely available in many supermarkets. The fillets usually are flash-frozen to lock in the taste and texture. In terms of price, cod of this type are among the more reasonably priced types of seafood, making it easy for consumers to purchase the fillets in bulk and save money without skimping on nutrition.