William Black is married to Sophie Grigson and he has long had an interest in fish.
Sophie Grigson is carrying on the family business. Her mother, Jane Grigson was a famous food writer in the 1970’s. Her first cookery book on charcuterie is legendary.
So what did Sophie and William do? They collaborated on a book: Fish.
Fish, the book, is meant to be as simple as the title. Black wanted to demystify fish. There is a wealth of information about fish; the varieties, the textures, the substitutions, the preparations. Grigson has formulated a series of recipes that feature fish in easy and tasty ways.
Grigson admits she thought twice about the beer in this recipe.
Brill Cooked in Beer
45 g butter
1 small onion, sliced
1 celery stick, thinly sliced
1 fresh parsley sprig
1 bay leaf
1 fresh thyme sprig
280 ml dry Pilsner lager
3 juniper berries, bruised
375-400g skinned brill filets
salt and pepper
chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
Melt 30 g of butter in a pan wide enough to take the filets in a close, single layer. Cube and chill the remaining butter. Cook the onions and celery gently in the butter until tender. Tie the herbs in a bundle with string and add to the pan with the beer, juniper berries, pepper and just a little salt. Bring up to the boil and then lay the brill filets in the pan. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer and poach the fillets for 3-5 minutes, until barley cooked. Lift out carefully and transfer to a shallow serving dish. Keep warm.
Raise the heat under the pan and boil hard until the liquid is reduced by about three-quarters. Add the remaining butter a few cubes at a time, swirling and tilting the pan to dissolve it in the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then strain through a sieve over the fish. Sprinkle with a little parsley and serve immediately.
I can't find brill that often, so I substitute sole, which makes the recipe Sole Cooked In Beer. I think it needs a creamy side, like mashed potatoes or cauliflower gratin.