Potato Crusted Hake, Celeriac, Onion Soubise, and Smoked Chowder Broth

When you think of warm and comfy dishes, you might think of New England chowder. This recipe is a play on New England clam chowder in entrée form. In a way, it’s also a play on fish and chips, but you’re swapping out the chips for a potato crust.

This dish’s objective is to highlight a lesser-known fish that is environmentally sustainable to reduce overfishing. Enter hake. It’s very similar to cod. Hake has tender, flaky flesh that is really buttery when cooked properly. It’s one of my favorite white fish. If you want to substitute cod in any recipe, you might convert to hake over cod altogether.

This recipe is broken down into steps over three days. Let’s jump right in.

Day 1: Making the Smoked Chowder Broth

Like any chowder, you’ll start with cooking down bacon or, if you’re a purist, fat back. This recipe uses bacon because it is smokier. Instead of a thick and chunky consistency, our chowder will be more brothy. Smoked haddock is best for this recipe, but you can substitute smoked trout or even smoked salmon. The goal is to get a smoky flavor into the broth.

Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes | Yield: 2 cups | Special Equipment: Blender and fine mesh strainer


  • 1 dozen Littleneck clams
  • 1/2 lb. smoked haddock, roughly cut into thumb-size pieces (substitute smoked trout or smoked salmon if preferred)
  • 4 slices Applewood smoked bacon, cut into lardons (thick, matchstick pieces)
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 3/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced (save the leaves for garnish)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Water, as needed

Step by Step

  1. Place a medium sauce pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the bacon and begin rendering the fat until it is crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Once crispy, remove the bacon from the pot and place it on a power towel to drain, leaving the bacon fat in the pot. Farm2ChefsTable Tip: Try not to eat the bacon, but no worries if you do. It happens all the time. Once the bacon has cooled, store in an airtight container until you are ready to serve.
  4. Over medium heat, add the onion and celery to the bacon fat and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the vegetables are translucent, but not browned. Farm2ChefsTable Tip: This is a great time to add salt to leach out all the onion and celery goodness. Don’t use too much salt because the bacon and clams are salty. A little goes a long way here.
  5. Once the onions and celery are soft and translucent, go ahead and add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  6. Next, add the clams and clam juice to the pot.
  7. Cover with a lid and cook until the clams pop open, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. When all the clams have popped open, set them aside on a plate to cool.
  9. Once they are cool enough to handle, remove the clam meat from the shell.
  10. Add milk to the pot containing the clam juice broth and aromatic vegetables.
  11. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, then add the flaked smoked haddock and clam meat.
  12. Cover the pot and let steep for 15 to 20 minutes.
  13. Next, blend the mixture in a blender then strain with a fine mesh strainer.
  14. Place into an airtight container and refrigerate until serving day.

Day 2: Making the Soubise and Cooking the Celery Root


Soubise is fancy chef lingo for onion cream sauce. Traditionally, it is made with béchamel, which is just cream thickened with a roux (flour and butter) until it becomes a sauce. I will admit, I haven’t made a traditional soubise since culinary school more than 10 years ago. I have adopted a new, easier, faster and equally tasty soubise recipe since then. It involves onions, butter and a splash of milk.

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 20 to 30 minutes | Yield: 1 cup


  • 2 large onions, as thinly sliced as possible
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup cream

Step by Step

  1. In a medium sauce pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  2. When the butter has melted, add your thinly sliced onions to the pot and immediately add salt to draw out the onion juices.
  3. Cover with a lid and continue cooking over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes until the onions are soft and transparent, without any browning.
  4. Next, stir in the cream and blend until a smooth, tight puree forms.
  5. Turn off the heat, let it cool slightly, then place into an airtight container until you are ready to serve.

Celery Root

Celery root, also known as celeriac, is a massively underutilized ingredient. If you’ve never had celery root, it’s the root of celery, as you might have guessed. It’s bulbous and looks nothing like celery’s green stalks. It offers a sweeter and heartier texture. It’s great thinly shaved and eaten raw with a little lemon juice and olive oil. In this recipe, we are going to peel it, cut it into wedges, blanch it in water and lemon, and glaze it in butter the next day.

Celery roots can grow rather large. Try to find one that is the size of a medium fist, about 3 to 4 inches in circumference. If you can only find a large one, you can save some for another meal. Celery root lasts a long time in the fridge and is super tasty.

Prep Time: 5 to10 minutes | Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes | Yield: 8 wedges (2 per person)


  • 1 celery root, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Butter, for finishing the next day

Step by Step

  1. Place your peeled celery root on a cutting board. Cut it in half vertically. Then cut each half vertically again. You’ll have 4 pieces now. Cut each of those 4 pieces in half vertically. Now you’ve ended up with 8 wedges. Farm2ChefsTable Tip: If you’re feeling fancy, you can take a peeler and round off the sides so they have a softer edge. It’s not necessary, but it is a chef trick that adds to the visual appeal of the dish.
  2. In a medium sauce pot, add the lemon, thyme, bay leaf, thinly sliced lemon and water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes to develop the flavor.
  4. After 5 minutes, add your celery root wedges and simmer for 15 minutes more or until the wedges are fork tender.
  5. Finally, remove the wedges from the cooking liquid and cool to room temperature.
  6. Place the wedges into an airtight container until the next day.

Day 3: Potato Crusting the Hake, Glazing the Celery Root, Warming the Soubise and Smoked Chowder Broth, Garnishing & Serving

Potato Crusted Hake

This is a bit more technical than most recipes, but it is still easy. All you need to do is grate potatoes, par cook the grated potatoes in boiling water for 1 minute then pat the potatoes dry before crusting them onto the seasoned hake.

Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes | Special Equipment: Box grater


  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Four 4 oz. pieces of skinless hake
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 heavy pinch of potato starch
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

Step by Step

  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil.
  2. Grate the potatoes on the large-hole side of your box grater.
  3. Boil the potatoes for 1 minute until they are 75 percent cooked through.
  4. Strain the potatoes with a fine mesh strainer and place them onto a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
  5. Place the potatoes on a clean dish towel to ring out the excess moisture.
  6. Once rung out, place the grated potatoes in a medium mixing bowl and toss with a sprinkle of potato starch. Farm2ChefsTable Tip: The potato starch aids in making the crust crispy while drying out the potatoes even more.
  7. Season your skinless hake fillets with salt and pepper to your liking.
  8. Sprinkle the skin side of each hake fillet with potato starch.
  9. Next, brush that side with an egg wash.
  10. Apply a thin, even layer of the grated potato to the hake. The thinner, the better. If you go too thick, it’ll be like a potato cake on a piece of fish. That’s not what we’re trying to do.  Think of it as replacing the hake skin with grated potato.
  11. Leave the crusted hake to sit, potato side up, for 5 minutes to air dry.
  12. Heat a heavy-bottom pan over medium heat and add your grapeseed oil.
  13. Once the grapeseed oil wisps with light smoke, go ahead and add your hake portions, potato side down.
  14. Cook the hake 75 percent of the way, adjusting the heat to keep the potatoes from burning, until the potato crust turns golden brown and delicious, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  15. Once the potatoes are golden brown, add your butter and get it all hot and foamy.
  16. Carefully lift the fish so the foaming butter gets underneath the potatoes and cook a little more, until 85 percent of the way. This will take another minute or so, depending on your heat.
  17. Flip the fish over, turn off the heat and let the residual heat cook the hake all the way through.
  18. Turn off the heat and reserve in the pan to keep warm while you finish the other tasks.

Farm2ChefsTable Tip: Be sure there is enough room in the pan. You may need to do this in batches, so they are not crammed in the pan. When your pan is overcrowded, the temperature drops. Instead of browning, you will end up boiling the ingredient and fail to get a crispy texture. A good rule of thumb is the rule of thumb. When sautéing or pan roasting, keep a distance of a thumb-width apart. This yields a nice, even color and texture.

Glaze the Celery Root

Cook Time: 5 minutes


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Celery root wedges

Step by Step

  1. In a medium sauté pan, add the water and celery root.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. You’re aiming to heat the celery root through and reduce the water by half.
  3. Once the water is reduced by half, add your butter and continue to reduce the emulsion over medium heat as you glaze the celery root.
  4. Set to the side as you finish up the next few tasks.

Warm the Soubise & Smoked Chowder Broth

Cook Time: 5 minutes | Special Equipment: Stick blender (optional)

  1. In a small sauce pot, warm the soubise and smoked chowder broth over low heat.
  2. Froth the Smoked Chowder Broth with a stick blender. This is optional, but it does add a nice touch.

Plate, Garnish & Serve

Step by Step

  1. Smear the soubise on the bottom of 4 coupe bowls.
  2. Place the Potato Crusted Hake in the center of the bowls.
  3. Pour the Smoked Chowder Broth around the hake.
  4. Rustically garnish the dish with celery leaves and bacon lardons.
  5. Enjoy the simple pleasures of life with friends and family!