Baked Brill with Wild Garlic
Ireland's West Coast, a place where the fierce Atlantic batters a rugged land. A rough, wild and unique environment, mountains cloaked in cloud, bog land drenched in rain, and a coast lashed by salty spray. Connemara was the hinterland of our childhood, a place where the weather changes by the hour. We spent long summers sailing out to islands, fishing and foraging, running wild in search of whatever we could find. Today we still return as often as possible, we still fish and forage, and we are still very much in love with this magical corner of the world.
Connemara is the home of Cliodhna Prendergast – a marvel, super fun and, amongst her many talents, an excellent cook. Over the next year, she will be sharing seasonal recipes with Makers & Brothers. From her kitchen in Ballynahinch and her larder that spreads from her doorstep out into the woods, bogland and coast of Connemara. Cliodhna will be gathering the best ingredients to create earthy mealtime delights. There's nothing quite as enjoyable as food fresh from the source and straight onto the plate.
1800g whole brill (head on)
40g approx. of softened butter
Wild Garlic Sauce
60g (small bunch) of wild garlic leaves
20g (a handful) flat leaf parsley leaves
1 ½ lemons zested (on a microplane grater if possible)
Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 200 ˚C
Take one whole brill and cut three deep slashes in the skin, about an inch apart, on the side that will face up.
Slather both sides of the fish in the butter and place on a roasting tray that fits the fish comfortably.
Sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper.
Place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. It cooks quicker than you would imagine.
Larger fish will need a little longer in the oven.
Any type of wild garlic chopped finely.
Chop the parsley leaves and zest the lemon making sure not to go too deep into to the white pith, as this part is very bitter.
Mix all the ingredients together.
“I can’t stand people who do not take food seriously.”
― Oscar Wilde
Check your fish is cooked by poking a knife into one of the slashes, it should be opaque white right through to the bone.
Sprinkle over a good amount of green sauce and bring the whole fish to the table, spooning over the melted brown butter from around the fish. At this time of year watercress is a delicious accompaniment.
When serving, slice down along the bone in the middle of the fish, then sliding a pallet knife or a flat spatula between the bone and the flesh gently lift one fillet off and on to a plate and then the other. Then lift and remove the entire bone and the two fillets underneath are easily served.
Recipe and photography by Cliodhna Prendergast