Cured brill with mint and peas
Chefs' recipes are often complicated but you couldn't ask for a simpler, more summery dish than this fabulous fish recipe from Nathan Outlaw's Fish Kitchen*.
Nathan writes: "Brill isn’t a fish one would generally expect to find cured, but while experimenting as I do (though not always with great success), I discovered that it was really well suited. Usually much oilier fish fit the bill, but in this minty cure brill is perfect. It goes without saying that peas and mint pair well and here they team beautifully with the cured fish."
500g brill fillet, skinned and trimmed
400g freshly podded peas
100g Cornish sea salt
100g caster sugar
40g mint leaves
100ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil
40ml cider vinegar
5g mint leaves, chopped
Cornish sea salt
A few mint sprigs
Handful of pea shoots or tendrils
For the cure, put the sea salt, sugar, mint and water in a food processor and blitz together for 1 minute.
Lay the brill fillet on a tray and pour the salt cure over it. Make sure the fish is evenly coated all over. Cover with cling film and leave to cure in the fridge for 2. hours.
Now wash off the cure well with cold water and pat the fish dry with kitchen paper. Wrap the fish tightly in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour or so. (At this stage, you can freeze the fish for up to a month.)
Add the peas to a pan of boiling water and blanch for a minute or two until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold water; drain well.
For the dressing, whisk the rapeseed oil and cider vinegar together, add the chopped mint and season with salt to taste.
Unwrap the brill. Using a very sharp knife, slice the fish on a clean board as thinly as possible, laying it straight onto serving plates. Spoon the dressing evenly over the fish and sprinkle with a little salt. Scatter over the peas and finish with the mint sprigs and pea shoots.
What to drink: Given that Nathan has used local ingredients for the dressing I'd be inclined to serve a crisp Cornish white like Camel Valley's Bacchus. Otherwise a Loire Sauvignon such as Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé or even a good Sauvignon de Touraine would be lovely
Recipe extracted from Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen (Quadrille, £20) Photograph © David Loftus
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