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Fish Friday at the Palace for 100 years

Every Good Friday for the eleven years I rattled pans in the Royal Kitchens at Buckingham Palace Queen Elizabeth religiously (pun intended) had fish for lunch. not just any old fish, this was the only day of the year that we cooked hake.

Hake is a sweet, white, flaky fish and an alternative to cod or haddock. In Europe it is fished in the Mediterranean and very popular in Spain. In the USA hake, once called “trash fish” because no-one  wanted it is now trending in the foodie world and is as popular as cod or haddock in New England.

Queen Mary preferred cod in this dish, Queen Elizabeth liked hake.


This recipe from the royal kitchens is over 100 years old. Royal chefs would serve it to Queen Mary every Good Friday, though she would have cod rather thank Queen Elizabeth’s preference of hake. Queen Mary would have baby potatoes and parsnips with hers. Parsnips were very popular in the early 1900’s and brought to England by the Romans. Queen Elizabeth enjoyed new potatoes and spinach with her fish.

Here is the 100 year old royal recipe from the palace kitchens. Happy Fish Friday.


Poached Cod and Egg Sauce

 Serves 4

 4 six ounce fillets of cod (or hake)

2 cups milk

1 bay leaf

2 Tbs unsalted butter

2 Tbs flour

3 hard boiled eggs, diced

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine

salt and pepper to taste

Baby potatoes and parsnips to garnish

Bring the milk to a boil in a sauté pan with the bay leaf. Carefully add the fish, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the fish to a plate once cooked.

In a small pan melt the butter and stir in the flour, gradually incorporate the milk that the fish was poached in and whisk until smooth and the sauce starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes then remove and discard the bay leaf.

Add the egg and parsley to the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Place the fish on a serving plate and spoon the sauce over the top. Serve with the hot baby potatoes and boiled parsnips.

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