Sunday 2 August 2009

My First Turbot....

I have had a thing about Turbot for quite some time now - so many chefs proclaim it the king of fish, but for me it has been a little illusive. It doesn't seem to have made it to many Sheffield restaurants as to-date I haven't seen it on a menu up here, and on the odd occassion I have seen it on a fish counter, it's high price has kept it beyond my reach (I did get a half of one weighed as possible New Years Eve dinner last year but at £65 it was too pricey for my limited purse).

Today I saw a smaller example of a whole fish in Waitrose and and a little red tag caught my eye, and I became quite excited - reduced to £12.49 a kilo, so I had it weighed - a much more approachable cost of just under £22 for the whole fish, and bouyed by success at a recent fish filleting and cookery course I snapped it up and took it home.

The first challenge came when I looked at the lateral line of the fish - this is the line we'd learned to follow on the course a couple of weeks ago - however - this line curved - on the plaice we practiced on there is no such curve! After searching many books in vain for pictures of someone filleting a turbot, I gave up and just went for it. The first fillet came off in the same way as the plaice - on the second, I ignored the curve and got a much bigger fillet, the same pattern followed on the underside, so there was easily a very good meal for 4 people from the one fish (or in our case, 2 for lunch and 2 for the freezer...)

With the fillets removed, they were simply pan fried, finished in the oven and served with asparagus (despite it's lack of seasonality as I couldn't get samphire), new potatoes and a buerre noisette and caper sauce. And how did I find my first turbot - it had a lot of hype to live up to afterall, but it definately did not disappoint. Its flesh is firm and meaty, much more so than its other flat cousins, but the taste is quite unique - not at all fishy but rich deep and earthy. In fact it was so good that my normally frugal husband was quite keen to repeat the lunch again despite the extravagent price.

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