Brill-iant use of fish and a glut of tomatoes
Brill is a species of flatfish, very similar to turbot. It is an oval shaped fish which has the peculiar genetic gift of both eyes being located on right side of its head.
Like other flatfish, it can change colour according to its habitat. It is mainly caught in the South Island, with a large number coming from the West Coast caught as ‘‘by-catch’’. Brill has a delicate apricot coloured flesh that whitens when cooked.
Fish is an excellent source of protein, is low in saturated fats and rich in iodine. As cold water fish, salmon, tuna, sardines and anchovies all contain essential omega 3-fatty acids which are great for cardiovascular function, brain boosting powers and antiinflammatory effects. It is recommended to eat fish two or three times a week, however pregnant women do need to be aware of those fish containing higher levels of mercury. Interesting fact: Fish at the top of the food chain, and those that live for longer, accumulate more mercury in their systems. These include swordfish, bluefin tuna, marlin and trout from geothermal regions.
I created the dish below out of necessity, as my greenhouse is bursting at the seams with ripe tomatoes. Make the most of tomatoes whilst you can, as I have noticed an increase in price at the supermarkets lately, a sure sign they are going out of season.
I bought my fish from the fantastic new fish shop in Frankton called Harbour Fish. A constant stream of fresh fish comes into the shop daily, all very well priced.
Pan Fried Brill with Tomato, Red Pepper and Saffron Prep Time: Cook Time: Ingredients
20 mins 20 mins 2 fillets of brill 1 tablespoon of butter Sauce: 8 tomatoes 2 red pepper, cut in half and deseeded 1 chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 cloves of garlic, crushed 1 pinch saffron strands in 1 tablespoon hot water 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon crushed whole coriander seeds 1 good handful fresh coriander, chopped 1 good handful of mint, chopped 1. Turn oven grill on to high. Place the peppers, skin side up, on a baking tray. Place under the grill for 10-15 mins until black and blistered. Remove and place in a bowl covered with gladwrap to cool. 2. To skin the tomatoes, bring pot of water to boil and fill a large bowl with ice-cold water. Cut a small cross into the skin at bottom of each tomato. Pop into boiling water for 10 seconds then scoop out and put straight into the cold water. Peel away the skin. Cut in half then take out the seeds. Dice the tomatoes. 3. When the peppers cool enough to touch, peel off the skins and slice thinly. 4. Heat oil to medium high heat in a large fry pan. Add the garlic, paprika, ground cumin, crushed coriander and cook for two to three minutes. Add in tomatoes, peppers , lemon juice and saffron in water and continue cooking over a medium heat for about 15 minutes until the liquid is reduced to a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I used about half a teaspoon of salt. 5. Heat another pan to a medium high heat. Place about a tablespoon of butter in and cook the fish for 1-2 minutes on each side. Divide the sauce between plates, place the fish on top and sprinkle with the chopped herbs. For a healthier option poach or steam the fish for about 3-4 minutes. This dish would be lovely served with tabbouleh, a courgette and chickpea salad or a sweet potato and ginger mash.
Pan fried brill with tomato, red pepper and saffron.