26 March 2009


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.

, 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.


  1. I illustrated this book!! It's lovely to read your review! Well done, Best wishes,
    Anna Koska

  2. Cool! Always glad to hear from people involved with our books.


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