Catch of the Day, Brill

Cooking fish is straightforward, if you just keep to a few basic rules you will serve up dishes to vie with the best of restaurants. It is suggested that we eat at least three or more servings of fish a week, since the experts have proved that if you eat more fish you are less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer. The fat in fish is called omega-3, an essential fatty acid which keeps our blood from getting sticky and so reduces the probability of having a stroke.

Maureen and I well, we just like fish and shellfish for its handiness, ease of cooking, taste and if it’s good for us well, that’s a bonus!

Fish and seafood is available to buy fresh, frozen, or cured, you can buy it whole, filleted or cut into steaks, your fishmonger or supermarket fish counter should stock a large choice of each of the groups of seafood there are 3 main groups of fish;

White Sea Fish

  • White Fish, including Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Whiting, Pollack, Pout (Pouting. Bib), Saithe (Coley), Hake, Monkfish, Dover Sole, Lemon Sole, Megrim, Witch, Brill, Turbot, Halibut, Dogfish, Skates, Rays, John Dory, Bass, Ling, Catfish, and Redfish
  • White fish are divided into two types round and flat.
  • Large round white fish such as Cod and Coley are usually sold in steaks, fillets, or cutlets.
  • The small round species such as Whiting and Haddock are usually sold in fillets.
  • With flat fish, the larger species such as Halibut and Turbot are sold whole in fillets and as steaks
  • Smaller flat fish like Plaice and Sole are usually sold whole, trimmed, or filleted.

    Oil Rich Fish

  • Including Herring, Mackerel, Pilchard, Sprat, Horse Mackerel, Whitebait, Tuna.
  • Oil-rich fish such as Herring and Mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a lowering effect on blood fats; this decreases the chance of blood vessels clogging up with cholesterol.
  • Oil-rich fish is also a good source of vitamins A and D.

    Fresh Water Fish

    Including Salmon, Trout, Perch, Bass, Bream, Pike, Arctic Char

    Then there are; Shellfish (Molluscs and Crustaceans)

    Including Clams, Cockles, Whelks, Periwinkles, Mussel, Oyster, Lobster, Crab, prawns, Crayfish, Scallops, Sea Urchins, Shrimp, Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish

    You know that you can always ask for help when choosing your fish and shellfish especially if you are not sure how it should be prepared and cooked.

    Your fishmonger should be happy to prepare fresh fish for you in exactly the way you want, if what you want is not available, species of the same type can always be substituted and once again a good fishmonger can help you out.

    We should be eating at least two servings of fish a week including one of oily fish. Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of a range of vitamins; minerals, and essential fatty acids, furthermore oily fish is especially loaded in omega 3 fatty acids.

    However if we would like to make sure there are sufficient fish to eat now, and in the future, we must start thinking about the choices we make when we decide which fish we eat and your local fishmonger can also help with that, a good fishmonger will always know where the product he sells comes from and all the fishmongers, fishermen and chefs I know put sustainability at the top of there to-do list.

    Anyway, enough of all that lets get to the main point of what we hope will be a weekly or fortnightly part of our blog;

    Catch of the Day, Brill

    clip_image002[4]Available all year round, January, and February it is best to leave alone, March and April although available they are of varying availability. Throughout late spring (spawning season), the fillets can be slight and moist so it is sensible to stay away from them.

    In May and June though Brill from British waters are at their best and from July to August, Brill is very good, September, October, November, December brill is still very good but availability is limited

    Comparable to Turbot, brill remains a much undervalued fish, in spite of it being by and large less expensive.

    Brill is a first-rate enjoyable tasting flatfish strongly linked with turbot, it is a fish found in waters from Iceland through to the Mediterranean Sea, from Norway, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean.

    A quantity of the best are landed on British shores.

    Brill is described as having smooth, dark brown skin with deep white speckling and as with all flatfish; its underside is a creamy white.

    Fishermen have been catching brill in coastal European countries for more than 300 years, records from London’s Billingsgate Market show that Brill was being sold early 1700’s.

    Brill has a luscious and somewhat sweet flesh, they taste so sweet because they feed on crustaceans and small fish living near the sea bed, and with a smaller flake than Turbot, Brill is also easier to prepare than its more famous cousin.

    Buying Brill

    Brill (Filleted)It’s important to note that small brill, those weighing less than a kilogram ought to be cooked on the bone for the best flavour.

    For fillet portions get them from the larger fish, weighing 3 to 4 kilograms, and choose thicker fish with bright, unsunken eyes.

    Storing Brill

    Put your fish and/or shellfish in the fridge as soon as possible after purchase and use within a day, or freeze for up to three months.

    When you bring it back from the fishmonger, unwrap, and rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towel and place in an airtight container.

    Keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator for top flavour, texture, and nutritional value, store fresh fish and shellfish for no longer than two days before you use it, for the finest quality, it is better to use fresh seafood when at its freshest.

    If it’s essential to freeze the fish, freeze it quickly and use it as soon as possible.

    Preparing and Cooking Brill

    Brill is usually gutted upon landing so if you buy it whole you just need to cook it whole or filleted your fishmonger will fillet it for you if you ask nicely.

    Fillets of Brill are more often than not sold skinned and the pin bones are as a rule removed when being filleted.

    Cook Brill as you would a Halibut, or Turbot, to cook it whole, trim away the fins, head and blood-line, then grill, bake or roast.

    It is superb when cooked on the bone, by grilling, frying, roasting, or baking, as with any white fish, cook until the flesh is just opaque, firm to the touch, and easy to flake.

    The firmness and sweet taste of Brill make it a unequalled fish for pan-frying or grilling, serving with butter plain or flavoured with a squeeze of lemon, capers, and delicate herbs.

    You can poach it and serve cold with a mayonnaise or cook it as you would Turbot.

    I find it superb steamed or poached served with a butter sauce, or steamed with cockles or clams, garlic, herbs and white wine.

    Recipes for Brill;

    Our most favourite way to cook brill is to simply pan-fry it in a mixture of best butter a little light olive oil flavoured with a little truffle oil, cook and baste the brill fillets and finish off with a squeeze of lemon juice and some fresh parsley or chervil.

    Fillets of Brill Dugléré

    When I was at the Spread Eagle at Sawley we used to serve Brill with a Dugléré sauce and I believe that this dish would still be a firm favourite with many people.

    • Serves / Makes: 6 servings
    • Prep-Time: 12 minutes
    • Cook-Time: 35 minutes

    You Will Need

  • 6 medium size fillets of brill
  • 50 grams finely chopped shallots
  • 10 grams chopped parsley
  • 150 grams of a finely chopped tomato concassé
  • 100 mls dry white wine
  • 200 mls fish stock
  • 600 mls fish velouté
  • 100 mls cream
  • 2 egg yolks for the sabayon
  • 75grams best butter


    • Skin the Brill fillets, butter, and season a shallow tray, sprinkle with the finely chopped shallots and parsley and lay the prepared fillets in the tray in a single layer cover with the tomato concassé
    • Add the wine and stock to just cover the fish cover with a buttered piece of greaseproof paper and poach in the oven at 175°C for 10 minutes.
    • Remove the fillets and place in a serving dish, cover and keep warm.
    • Strain the cooking liquid into a shallow pan, adding the garnish to the fish
    • Add the velouté and cream and reduce to a coating consistency.
    • Add the sabayon and pass through a fine strainer.
    • Whisk in the butter a little at a time, away from the stove, and season with salt and cayenne.
    • Coat the fish evenly with the sauce.
    • Before serving, the fillets with the sauce and serve immediately and Enjoy!

    The recipes below are from, The MyDish recipe sharing network is a far superior recipe sharing website packed full of recipes uploaded every minute by members of the public and many budding chefs use to store, swap, and find new recipes daily. Our site contains many unique recipes that have been uploaded by university trainee chefs as MyDish is used by many university lecturers during classes, while trainee chefs can login and upload their crazy recipes for people to comment on. We have a massive resource of online recipes and cooking tips from people like you! So if you’re looking for recipes or wanting to share your recipe ideas look no further is the No1 recipe sharing social network for you.

    Even though the recipes are for Turbot you can use Brill.

    Turbot with Shellfish

    Turbot Fillet Meunière

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    One thought on “Catch of the Day, Brill

    1. Ruben Doing May 17, 2012 at 00:32

      Excellent blog, thanks “cigar aficionado forum


    Comments are closed.

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