Sunday, 10 May 2009

Saturday was brill...

And what a magnificent specimen, weighing in at over a kilo and costing just £10. Also, the fishmonger had something I'd never seen before. He said it was called sea spinach and came from France. I get over excited when I spot new food and this had me positively shaking....

The sea spinach got washed and left on the side. Later I noticed it had what looked like a grey sludge on the leaves. God, the thought of wiping each one... then I sussed, it was salt leaching out. Phew. I tried a few.... mmm, seaside! Even more intense than samphire.

As I filleted the brill it became obvious it was stuffed full of roe. Finding it always brings on mixed emotions. All those potential new fish that won't make it......

Then I remember how good it tastes... and bonus time, because I spotted the liver too.

'An improvised lunch' as they say. Fried roe and liver with a few water biscuits, some chopped parsley, squeeze of lemon and dash of tabasco. Seriously good.

After lunch I made stock from the bones and head. The only other ingredients were an onion halved and a large piece of kombu (dried kelp). Boiled, skimmed then simmered for just 15 minutes. Strained, then reduced over a low heat for 2 hours. The result was an intense flavour with a gelatinous texture, maybe from something agar-like in the seaweed? Just before serving I whisked in a little cold butter and 2 teaspoons of mirin.

The sea spinach was steamed for 5 minutes. It was more robust than normal spinach and held it's shape quite well, but it was a strong flavour- spinachy and quite like lava bread . So I mixed it with new potatoes, a bit of parmesan and popped it under the grill. Very nice, but really a dish on it's own. Next time I'll try it with fresh pasta and parmesan.
And to drink? Well, I went for this and it worked well. 

I'm a big fan of Spy Valley's pinot noir and this is pretty good too. It reeks of papaya and passion fruit, has nice acidity and a fair wallop of residual sweetness. That worked with this dish but it may cause problems with shellfish.
They sell it at my local mildly eccentric off sales, The Cave, where it's £9.99, and you get to hear some really good music while browsing. Not a big selection, but always a couple of good bottles in stock.

The Cave
421 Great Western Road
G4 9JA

1 comment:

  1. Highly entertaining! Just enjoyed some Brill and roe myself :)