Barton Seaver’s Sautéed Hake with Brown Butter, Herbs & Baby Potatoes

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 02 2020


Barton Seaver’s Sautéed Hake with Brown Butter, Herbs & Baby Potatoes

Photo Credit : Amy Traverso

The story of seafood today is often one of scarcity. We hear about declining cod stocks, the closure of the Atlantic shrimp fishery, and lobsters moving north. But that doesn’t mean we should stop eating fish. We just need to eat differently, according to chef, author, and sustainable seafood expert Barton Seaver. Our nation’s coastal fisheries are home to “a broad diversity of species that fit our current culinary preferences,” he says. “In the United States and New England, specifically, we have the leading global example of fisheries done right.”

Among the abundant species we can enjoy right now are white-fleshed fish such as whiting, dogfish, haddock, pollack, hake, and Acadian redfish. These fish are abundant, well managed, and similar enough in flavor and texture that they can be used interchangeably in recipes. “It’s all the cod-flaky-white-fish category,” Seaver says. “It’s not at all complicated to cook.” And by learning to cook and enjoy these species, he says, we’re keeping our New England fisheries in business.

The following recipe is a great example of a perfect 20-minute weeknight dinner that you can make with any of the aforementioned species. When we visited Seaver at his Freeport, Maine, home while filming season four of Weekends with Yankee, he used hake. —Amy Traverso

Adapted fromThe Joy of Seafood by Barton Seaver (Sterling Epicure, 2017).


4 servings


4 hake or other flaky, white-fleshed fish fillets, about 6 ounces each, skin off
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for cooking potatoes
10 to 12 ounces baby potatoes (about 10 to 12 potatoes)
7 tablespoons salted butter
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh sage leaves
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced


Season the fish with salt and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Place the potatoes into a pot filled with cold water. Season heavily with salt. Boil until soft, about 15 to 20 minutes depending on size. Strain the potatoes, then cool slightly and smash with a mallet or a spoon.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the thyme and sage, then the garlic. Place the fish and potatoes in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook without flipping until the fish is almost done and potatoes have browned. Spoon melted butter over the fish until fully cooked. Serve with sauce over the top.