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factual
THE FOOD PROGRAMME
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PAN-FRIED BRILL WITH WARM SAUCE VIERGE
SPRING BEAN AND ASPARAGUS SALAD
PAN-FRIED BRILL WITH WARM SAUCE VIERGE

Serves 4
Ingredients
2 large brill fillets, 250–300g each, skinned
salt and freshly ground pepper
50g butter
30ml olive oil

Season the fish with a little salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a griddle pan or large non-stick frying pan until almost smoking hot.

Add the butter and olive oil and when the butter is foaming, put in the brill fillets and cook for about 1½ minutes on each side, until they are lightly golden-brown and feel just firm when you press them with your index finger. The precise cooking time depends on the thickness of the fillets; the important thing is not to overcook them.

WARM SAUCE VIERGE

Using a mixture of basil-infused extra virgin olive and plain olive oil gives the sauce a particularly aromatic flavour, but it's fine to use only extra virgin oil if basil oil is hard to find.

Ingredients:
50ml extra virgin olive oil mixed with 50ml basil-flavoured extra virgin olive oil or 100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot (about 30g), very finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and finely diced
juice of ½ lemon
a pinch of caster sugar (if the tomatoes are not very flavourful)
2 tbsp large basil leaves, shredded
salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the oil, shallot and garlic in a small saucepan and heat very gently for about four minutes, until the shallots are cooked, but not coloured. Add the tomatoes and lemon juice, then a pinch of sugar if necessary. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the basil, season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground pepper and spoon a generous amount of the sauce beside the brill fillets.

SPRING BEAN AND ASPARAGUS SALAD

Skinning the broad beans is a labour of love, but believe me, it’s worth the effort for the delicate taste and glorious spring-like colour.

Ingredients:
150g baby broad beans (frozen are fine)
100g fine French beans
12–16 young asparagus spears
grated zest of 1 lemon
2–3 tbsp fresh mint leaves, shredded
2–3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

Drop the broad beans into a saucepan of boiling water, bring the water back to the boil, then drain the beans and plunge them into a bowl of iced water. Nick the skins with your nail and squeeze to eject the beans. Drain on kitchen paper.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, put in the French beans and cook for about three minutes, until they are just tender, but still have some crunch. Drain and immediately refresh in iced water. Drain again and put the beans into a salad bowl.

Snap off the base of the asparagus stalks and steam the tips until just tender, or drop into boiling salted water and simmer for about two minutes. Drain, refresh and add to the salad bowl.

Add the broad beans, lemon zest and mint, toss very lightly with your hands and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the olive oil, toss the salad again and serve it with the brill.
© Kate Whiteman
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