Al Brown's Hapuku Recipe

Al Brown is an award-winning chef, co-owner of Wellington’s Logan Brown restaurant, television presenter on Hunger for the Wild, writer, and fisherman. In 2009 Logan Brown was pronounced Supreme Winner of Cuisine magazine’s Restaurant of the Year Award.

Al’s passion for fishing prompted him to write the highly acclaimed Go Fish recipe book – the ultimate guide to sourcing and cooking fish.

Try his recipe for:

Chilled poached hapuku with summer tomatoes & tamarind palm sugar vinaigrette

Serves 6 for lunch or brunch


  • 75 g tamarind pulp
  • 50 g palm sugar roughly chopped (or use brown sugar)
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of canola oil
  • 1 lemon (cut into rounds)
  • 6 x 150 g boneless hapuku fillets (the thickest possible)
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1 baguette (or similar)
  • 40 g butter
  • 1 kg ripe tomatoes, sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup fresh basil roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step 1: Tamarind palm sugar vinaigrette

In a bowl break up the tamarind with your fingers, then add palm sugar and hot water. Let this sit for 5 minutes. Rework the mixture to make sure the sugar is dissolved, then pass the liquid through a fine sieve and discard the coarse tamarind pulp and seeds. Add the lemon juice, a teaspoon of salt, ground black pepper, and whisk in half the canola oil. Check for taste and then refrigerate.

Step 2: Poached hapuku fillets

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Place the fillets in an ovenproof dish that holds them snugly in place. Heat up some salted water and pour enough over the fillets to just cover them. Toss in the lemon and parsley. Cover with tinfoil and place in the centre of the oven. Check after 5 minutes and then at regular intervals. Remove when the fish is still slightly translucent in the centre. Once it is cooked, take the fish out of the poaching liquid and let both the fish and the liquid cool to room temperature. Put the cooled fish back in the poaching stock and refrigerate until required.

Step 3: Rustic croutons

Carefully remove the crust from the baguette, then tear the bread into small rough pieces. Put a skillet or sauté pan on medium heat and add the butter and the rest of the canola oil. When the pan is hot, toss in the bread. Stir to coat and season with salt and pepper. Tip on to an oven tray and cook for around 5 minutes until golden. Remove and cool. Store in an airtight container until needed.

Step 4: To serve

Layer tomato rounds in a circle in the centre of each serving plate and drizzle with liberal amounts of vinaigrette. Top each portion with a fillet of hapuku. Place the basil in a bowl with the croutons, toss until combined, then sprinkle evenly over each portion. Finish with salt and a grind of pepper and serve.

For more information about Al or to buy a copy of Go Fish visit