We’re going to make a beautiful but very technical dish! Don’t worry, just take it step by step and you’ll be totally fine. We’re going to make a brill & cockle fish farce with a cauliflower cream, a sea herb salad and a delicious Tom yam sauce.
How to fillet the brill
Make sure the skin of the fish is dry, this makes the filleting a lot easier. Now start by cutting around the head and cut along the central spine. Then tilt you knife a bit and cut the fillet of the bone. Be sure to give some pressure so you don’t waste any fish. Now cut the fillet off. Then turn the brill and cut that fillet off as well. Just be careful that you don’t pierce the liver. Now turn the fish to the other side and cut those fillets off as well. You want to hear your knife making music on the bones. That means no fish is wasted. Then take the fillets and make a small incision at the beginning of the tail. Pull that tight and slowly cut the skin off. Let your knife do the work. Now trim the sides and then keep the fillets in your fridge for later. Then use a spoon to scrape any fish off the bones. This should really only be a couple of grams, but still we don’t waste anything. Add it to the other trimmings and keep it in your fridge for later.
The fish broth & tom yum sauce
First remove the eyes and gills from the fish bones. When boiling them to long they will turn the sauce bitter. Also remove the bloodline. Then cut the bones into smaller pieces and do this as well with the head. Transfer everything into a pan and let some cold-water rinse on the bones until the water is completely clear. Once clear remove around half of the water, but be sure to keep the bones completely submerged. Then bring this to a simmer on a medium heat with a drizzle of white wine vinegar. Let this simmer for 30 minutes and meanwhile scoop off any protein or white foam that’s floating on top. After that gently pass the broth through a fine sieve and let it drain for at least 30 minutes so you don’t waste a single drop.
The fish broth
Salt & fish sauce
Now we can make the sauce, first cut onions in half and clean them. Then chop them. Now add a drizzle of oil to a hot pan and glaze the onions on a medium heat till they start to color. Meanwhile cut the lemongrass, the galangal, the ginger and the garlic. Then remove the stems from the chilies and cut them in big pieces. Once the onions start to color add the chopped spices and pan fry this for another 5 minutes. After deglaze the pan with the fish broth and also add the lime leaves, the coriander, the cane sugar and the coconut milk. Let this simmer for at least 3 hours on the lowest heat. Then drain the sauce and pass it through using a ladle so you don’t waste a single drop. Now cut the lime in half and add the juice to the sauce to balance the fattiness. Then season it with salt and fish sauce. Now blend it to emulsify the sauce and give it a final taste. Keep it in your fridge for later.
The cockle farce
First rinse the cockles under cold water for around 10 minutes to remove any sand in the shells. The ones that start to float you need to throw. These are bad. After let them drain for at least 5 minutes. Meanwhile cut the onion in half and clean it. Then chop it. It doesn’t need to be precise, but the smaller the better. Now add a drizzle of oil to a hot pan and add the onions, the cockles and the coriander. Pan fry this for 30 seconds on the highest heat. Then deglaze the pan with the white wine and let it boil till all the cockles have opened up. Once they have opened up drain them and let them cool down completely in your fridge. The liquid is great to use for sauces or risotto dishes. Then remove the cockles from the shells. Now use a small knife to cut the yellow part of the cockles off. The bottom part is okay to eat, but with this we bring it to the next level! Now keep them in your fridge for later.
the brill trimmings
Weigh 100 grams of the fish trimmings and transfer them into a blender. Also add the egg, the salt, the butter and the zest from a quarter of a lime. Now blend this till completely smooth. Be sure it stays cold to prevent the farce from splitting. Then add the cold cream and once it’s incorporated directly stop blending. After that transfer it on a sieve and press it through using a dough scraper or a ladle. Again, this step isn’t totally necessary, but it really improves the texture! Now transfer a quarter into a bowl and three quarters into another bowl. Add the cleaned cockles to the quarter of the farce and fold it together. Then take one of the fillets and portion it into the desired size. Now season the top with salt and spread the cockle farce in the middle. Level it with a pallet knife and then roll it up. Now spread some cooking spray or oil on a mold. Click here for the mold. Then take the remaining farce and spread it on the side. Be sure to really press it well into the corners. After press the brill roll into the farce and gently press it down not to damage the shape. Now level the top as well. Then cover it with some foil and steam it at 71 degrees Celsius for around 25 minutes. Now remove the foil and check if it’s cooked by inserting a needle in the middle of the farce. It needs to go through smooth, otherwise cook it for another minute or two. Once it’s cooked let it cool down completely in your fridge. Then gently remove the farce from the mold and transfer it on a metal tray. Now toast the top with a blow torch to give it a nice smokey flavor. Then directly glaze it with a nice citrus ponzu. Now transfer it on a cutting board and portion it into the desired size. Then keep them in your fridge for later.
The cauliflower & lime leaf cream
cream or coconut milk
First cut 700 grams of cauliflower off the stem and cut it to the same size. Then cut the onion in half and clean it. Now chop it. Then add a drizzle of oil to a hot pan and glaze the onion on a low heat. Also add the lime leaves. Now take the lemongrass and break it with the back of a heavy knife. Then twist it into a knot. Once the onions have softened add the cauliflower and then directly deglaze the pan with the vegetable broth, the cream or coconut milk, the lemongrass knot and the salt. Now cover it with a piece of parchment paper and let it boil it almost all the liquid has evaporated. I added the paper for a more even cooking of the cauliflower. Then remove the lime leaves and the lemongrass and transfer the cauliflower into a blender. Now blend it till smooth. Once it’s smooth add a knife tip of xanthan gum to prevent the cream from leaking any liquid once platted. Blend it for another minute. Then transfer it into a piping bottle and keep it in your fridge for later.
Portion a daikon into slices of 2 centimeters and cut those slices with a round cutter. Then cut those rounds with a smaller cutter. Now keep them in your fridge for later.
How to finish the dish
First heat the brill farce up at 70 degrees Celsius for around 15 minutes. Be sure it well covered. Meanwhile let the daikon simmer for around 2 minutes to give it some heat. Then transfer them on a tray and fill them halfway with the cauliflower cream. Now fill it with some saltwort, codium seaweed, nasturtium leaves and leek flowers. Then place a plate on a turntable with a wet paper underneath, this so it has more grip. Now turn it and pipe a circle with the cream on the center. Then place the filled daikon on the cream and gently place the brill next to it. Decorate it with corn flower peddles and small saltwort. Then take the hot sauce and foam it up with the hand blender. Be sure the sauce isn’t too hot for a nice stable foam. Now finish the dish with the foamy sauce and serve it straight away!