Poached bream with piccalilli spices, broccoli and spinach

Poached bream with piccalilli spices, broccoli and spinach

British Seafood
David Loftus

This dish was conceived over an after-service beer with the restaurant team. Piccalilli is one of our favourite condiments and we often pair it with ham and other meats, but never fish. We decided to lighten the spices and try it with bream. The result was magnificent… finished with smoked oil it is one of our favourite dishes.


Quantity Ingredient
2 bream, fins and gills cut off, scaled, gutted, filleted, skinned and pin-boned
16 tenderstem broccoli stems
100ml Roast fish stock
200g baby spinach, washed
2 tablespoons Red wine shallots, see white wine variation
cornish sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Cure and spice paste

Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
100g sea salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon english mustard
200ml white wine vinegar
200ml water
100g caster sugar

Poaching sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon english mustard
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
250ml olive oil
50ml double cream

To finish

Quantity Ingredient
Smoked oil


  1. For the cure and spice paste, in a bowl, mix together the cayenne, ginger, turmeric and mustard seeds. Put half of the mixture into a medium saucepan. Add the sea salt to the rest and mix well.
  2. Sprinkle the spiced salt evenly over the 4 fish fillets and place in the fridge for 1 hour to cure.
  3. Meanwhile, add the garlic, mustard, wine vinegar, water and sugar to the spice mix in the pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Let bubble to reduce down to a thin paste consistency, stirring every so often to make sure it doesn’t catch. Pour into a small bowl and reserve.
  4. Once the fish has been curing for an hour, wash off the spiced salt and pat dry. Refrigerate until needed. Blanch the broccoli in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then drain and refresh in cold water; drain and set aside.
  5. To make the poaching sauce, whisk the egg yolk, mustard and wine vinegar together in a bowl, then slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify (as for a mayonnaise). Finally, whisk in the cream and 2 tsp of the reserved spice paste; set aside.
  6. Cut the bream fillets into 2cm dice. Bring the fish stock to the boil in a pan. Once boiling, add the reserved spice paste followed by the fish and remove the pan from the heat. Leave to stand for 2 minutes to allow the fish to cook in the residual heat. Now remove the fish with a slotted spoon to a warmed dish; keep warm.
  7. Whisk enough of the hot fish stock into the poaching sauce to give a pouring consistency. Return to the pan and place over a low heat to warm through; do not allow to boil. Add the spinach to the sauce and heat for 1 minute to barely wilt, then add the fish, white wine shallots and blanched broccoli. Warm for a further minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as necessary.
  8. Ladle the fish, vegetables and sauce into warmed bowls, drizzle each portion with a little smoked oil and serve immediately.
British Seafood
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