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Bob Hart’s recipe: Rockling in bacon

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs
Article image for Bob Hart’s recipe: Rockling in bacon

There are few better table fish, especially this summer, than rockling – a
delicate white fish with an almost crunchy texture.

Flavour can be an issue: there is no doubt that this fish can be a bit on the
bland side unless you work at it. Which is precisely what I suggest you do.

And best of all, even though this dish cooks simply and deliciously on a gas
grill, I suggest you cook it over charcoal and add a touch of hickory smoke to
the mix.

Like this:

Prepare four thick, center fillets of rockling, ideally by sectioning the loin of a
large fish. Cut the portions you need from the loin – or have your fish-monger
do it for you – and use sturdy sections. Or with smaller fish, simply work with
the fillets.

Now, prepare four of those single portions by wrapping them in long strips of
streaky bacon – a good butcher will source these for you – to add some extra
salty, smoky flavour.

A dozen rashers will do – three for each fillet. To soften these, place each six
on a dinner plate, the other six on top but perpendicular to those in the first
layer. Top them all with a second dinner plate and microwave for a minute or
two to cook the rashers slightly and soften them to make them very pliable.
Let them cool.

Place the fillets on a large plate or baking sheet, brush with EV olive oil and
season well with salt and pepper. Add some lemon zest, also. Now wrap each
fillet evenly with a couple of strips of the cooled bacon – locking the ends of
bacon in place, under the fillet, with a dollop of Best Foods mayo.

Place the wrapped fillets on a hot, clean and oiled grill and drop the lid. After
about four minutes, carefully turn each fillet and roast, lid down, for another
three-four minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through and beginning to
flake easily. And that’s it.

Serve these tasty fillets on a bed of rice or on a buttery mash. Top each with a
generous splodge of the aforementioned Best Foods, but this time livened up a bit: to a ½ cup of the mayo, stir in 1 tbs of finely chopped gherkins and a
splash of pickle juice.

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs