FISH cookery is one subject I often discuss with customers at Friends Restaurant. Many people seem to be unsure about the basic preparation of fish, as well as the cooking itself.
Most overcooked dishes are a result of people being too concerned about undercooking fish. By ensuring that you only ever buy and cook the freshest fish availiable, a piece of salmon for example - slightly pink in the middle - can be such a real pleasure.
If you are not sure about what to do with your fish, ask your fishmonger to prepare it to the stage you want it, and watch him do it!
Now, if the sea were a little closer to Pinner, I could indulge more in one of my favourite pastimes, deep sea fishing.
I would also make sure I made a few friends in the local fishing community because, unlike me, they actually catch fish! I usually end up as a spectator when the best fish are pulled in, but I have caught a fair number of dogfish, along with a few gurnard, and even a small bream (which was the size of a goldfish, and was promptly returned to the sea).
I long for the day when I find a nice brill on the end of my line, as it is one of my favourite fish to cook and eat. And to cook it straight from the sea wow!
I would like to share with you a version of one of the first brill recipes I ever cooked.
Supreme of brill 'Grimaldi'
Ingredients (serves 4) [
4 fillets of brill, about 175g each
25g unsalted butter
250ml dry white wine
100ml double cream
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp tomato purée
1 tsp chopped tarragon
12 cooked crayfish (or prawns if you can't get crayfish)
Salt and milled pepper
Method 1) Use half the butter to lightly grease a suitable ovenproof dish and place the fillets in the bottom. Lightly season and add the white wine. Cover with a lid or foil.
2) Remove the tails from the crayfish and crush the shells with a mortar and pestle, or the end of a rolling pin.
3) Poach the brill in a moderate oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain off the cooking liquor, add the crayfish tails and keep it all warm.
4) Using the rest of the butter, gently cook the shallots for 2-3 minutes without letting them colour, in a thick-bottomed pan.
5) Add the crushed shells, tomato purée, tarragon, the cooking liquor, and about 250ml of water. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
6) Add the double cream, boil, and strain through a coarse strainer into a clean pan.
7) Simmer again for a few minutes, adjusting the consistency, either by reducing slightly or adding a little water if too thick. Season to taste.
8) Place the fish on hot plates, arrange the crayfish around them, and spoon over the sauce. Serve with some buttered flat noodles.