Did you know that Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, is a fast day for Catholics and most Irish lean towards eating fish for dinner? This Irish Food Board recipe is a perfect delish fish dish for the family.

Catholics are not allowed to eat meat on Ash Wednesday. Most adults are expected to fast and eat only one full meal per day. Two smaller meals can count for this requirement. Acceptable foods to eat on Ash Wednesday include milk, eggs, fish, grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Hake, broccoli, and cheddar cheese bake recipe

This recipe is perfect as a starter or a main course. If serving as a starter just use individual serving dishes instead of the large baking dish.

Serves: 4 people

Time: 20 min



  • 700g hake, skinned, boned and cut into 4cm chunks
  • 200g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 300ml light cream
  • 200ml fish or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablesp. Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150g grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablesp. capers


  • 25g butter
  • 50g stale white breadcrumbs 
  • 2 tablesp. chopped parsley


Place the broccoli florets in a saucepan of salted boiling water. Bring back to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for one to two minutes until the broccoli is just tender. Remove from the heat immediately and drain well.  Transfer to an ovenproof baking dish (approximately 24cm x 24cm).  Set aside while you prepare the sauce.

Add the cream, stock, mustard, garlic and bay leaves to the saucepan and bring to the boil.  Add the hake and simmer very gently for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and gently stir in most of the grated cheddar cheese, keeping aside 2 tablespoons for the topping. Add in capers and season with salt and pepper. Then spoon this mixture over the broccoli. Combine gently.

In a separate pan melt the butter then add in the breadcrumbs, reserved cheese and chopped parsley. Mix together then sprinkle over the top of the hake and broccoli mixture. Brown under a hot grill and serve with steamed potatoes and a tomato salad.

Serving suggestions: Steamed potatoes and tomato salad

For more Irish recipes, visit www.bordbia.ie.