As summer gives way to autumn it can be tricky knowing quite where to pitch a dish, especially if you’re buying the ingredients a day or two before you cook. You don’t want rose and salad while it’s bucketing down outside, but nor do you want to waste the last evenings of sunshine of the year on something too heavy. This brill dish is a great middleground, with the brill nice and light but the sherry and chanterelles giving it an autumnal spin.
• 2 x 180g tranche of brill or other flat fish
• 4 sticks of salsify (can be replaced with parsnips)
• 2 large handfuls of chanterelles
• 6 sprigs of tarragon
• 400g fish stock
• 200g oloroso sherry
• 50g cream
• 180g butter
• 2 sticks thyme
• 2 cloves garlic in skin
• Prep the salsify by peeling it and giving it a good wash. In a pan, add 60g butter and, once foaming, add the salsify. Let it roast in the butter on a low-medium heat until golden and tender, a small knife should be able to go through it when cooked.
• In a large pot, add 180g of the sherry and reduce by half. Add the fish stock and reduce by a quarter, then add the cream in and reduce by a quarter. With a hand blender, blitz in 80g of cold butter. Pass this through a fine sieve. Season the sauce with lemon juice and black pepper.
• In a non-stick pan with a small amount of rapeseed oil, place the brill dark side down into the pan. Add the garlic and thyme.
• Let the skin darken and crisp up on a medium heat. Then add 50g of cold cubed butter, and baste the fish constantly. Add a bit more butter if necessary to get a good basting action.
• After a few minutes, flip the fish and continue to baste it off the heat. It’ll be cooked if a toothpick can be pushed comfortably with little resistance through the thickest part of the fillet.
• While the fish is cooking, put a pan on and add the salsify to warm up with its cooking butter, add the chanterelles two minutes before the fish is cooked.
• Warm the sauce separately, add the remaining 20g of sherry and give it and blend with the hand blender. Plate the fish and salsify with the sauce all over, garnish with the mushrooms and a few picked leaves of tarragon.