Brill with tomato, cucumber and ginger salsa

This simple fish dish from Rachel Allen is served with a spicy salsa and Asian-style green beans
By Rachel Allen
Brill with tomato, cucumber and ginger salsa
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the salsa

  • 6 tbsp rice vinegar, or Mirin or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 250 g tomatoes, diced into 1cm pieces
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeds removed and diced into 1cm pieces
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 spring onion, trimmed and finely diced
  • 1/2-1 red chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 limes, juice only, or more to taste
  • 2 tsp root ginger, finely grated, or more to taste
  • 2 tbsp coriander, chopped

For the Asian green beans

  • 300 g green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds

For the fish

  • 1.75 kg whole brill, filleted
  • plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 knob butter, softened

Tips and Suggestions

Brill is sold as a whole fish and the size varies according to the season. This recipe uses 1 large fish that gives 4 large fillets, but if the brill are small you will need 2 whole fish to give 2 small fillets per person. Ask the fishmonger to fillet the fish for you and to remove the skin if you prefer it without; if the fillets are very large you may find it easier to cut them in half crossways before cooking, and to use two frying pans.


1. For the salsa: heat the vinegar, fish sauce and sugar together in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 2-3 minutes or until it thickens slightly. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool.

2. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, spring onion, chilli, lime juice, ginger and coriander. Toss together well, adding more lime juice or ginger if necessary, and top with fresh coriander leaves. Set aside until you are ready to serve (it will keep for about an hour).

3. For the Asian green beans: plunge the beans into boiling salted water and cook for 5 minutes, or until just cooked but firm. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chilli, garlic and mustard seeds and fry until the seeds start to pop, about 4-5 minutes. Add the beans and toss together thoroughly. Keep warm.

4. For the fish: coat the brill fillets in the seasoned flour, then spread one side with a little softened butter. Cook buttered-side first in a very hot frying pan for 1-2 minutes or until golden-brown, then turn over and cook on the other side.

5. Serve the brill fillets with a spoonful of the salsa on top and the Asian green beans alongside.

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