Citrus-cured brill with anchovy mayonnaise, basil and pistachios

Citrus-cured brill with anchovy mayonnaise, basil and pistachios

By
From
Everyday Seafood
Serves
4 as a starter

Like turbot, brill has a lovely firm texture that makes it ideal for curing and easier to slice once cured than other flat fish varieties. It just takes the salt a bit longer to work its magic though the dense flesh. This is my version of a dish that Pete Biggs, my longstanding head chef, developed at Outlaw’s at The Capital Hotel in London. The balance between all the components is lovely. Turbot works equally well here, or try very fresh plaice instead – reducing the curing time by an hour.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g very fresh brill fillets, skinned and trimmed

For the cure

Quantity Ingredient
100g sea salt
80g caster sugar
1 lemon, zest grated
1 lime, zest grated
1 orange, zest grated
100ml white wine

For the anchovy mayonnaise

Quantity Ingredient
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon english mustard
4 good quality tinned anchovy fillets in oil, drained
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
300ml sunflower oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

To finish

Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons pistachio nuts roasted in the shell, shelled and roughly chopped if preferred
8 basil leaves, thinly sliced
see method for ingredients, to drizzle
or olive oil, to drizzle

Method

  1. For the cure, put the sea salt, sugar, citrus zests and white wine into a food processor and blitz for 1 minute. Lay the brill fillets on a tray and sprinkle the mixture over them. Turn the fillets over in the cure a few times to ensure they are coated all over. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to cure for 3 hours.
  2. To make the mayonnaise, put the egg yolks, mustard, anchovies, water and lemon juice into a small food processor and blitz for 1 minute. With the motor running, slowly add the oil in a thin, steady stream through the funnel until it is all incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed.
  3. When the time is up, wash the cure off the brill fillets with cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Wrap the fish tightly in cling film and place back in the fridge for an hour to firm up. (At this stage you can freeze the fish for up to 1 month.)
  4. Using a sharp knife and a clean board, slice the brill thinly and lay it equally on 4 plates. Spoon on the mayonnaise, in small blobs, so you have some with each mouthful of fish.
  5. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped pistachios and sliced basil. Finally, drizzle on some basil or olive oil. Serve cold or at room temperature.
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