Turbot is a premium fish, highly sought after. At an average of £40 per kg, it is definitely a luxury but makes a sensational dinner party centrepiece. A baked whole turbot will feed 10 as a starter or 5 as a main course.
When cooked fresh, turbot meat is subtly flavoured and sweet. (It also stores well and can be kept for a few days due to its mild flavour and high gelatine content.) Turbot can be filleted, then steamed or sautéed. But I like to make serving turbot into a family occasion and roast the fish whole to be shared at the table.
Any good fishmonger should sell whole turbot when in season, but if not try The Cornish Fishmonger.
I am lucky enough to catch my own in August/September when we fish for them in deeper water over the mid English Channel sandbanks.
Cooked whole, this fish fed 4 adults and my two youngest grandchildren handsomely. I can’t wait for August so I can go fishing for this king of the flat fish again.
You can read about my turbot fishing in Catch It and Cook It – Turbot.
This baked whole turbot recipe was inspired by one from Jamie Oliver. The fish cooks beautifully and is not overpowered by the other ingredients.
Baked whole turbot
- 6 large leeks
- 10 spring onions
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ bunch of fresh thyme
- 80 g butter
- Olive oil
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 2 kg whole turbot
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 200 ml dry cider
- 40 g mascarpone cheese
- 1 lemon
- ½ bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Heat the oven to 150C (non- fan 170C). Trim and thickly slice the leeks and spring onions, peel and finely slice the garlic, then pick the thyme leaves.
- Place a large pan over a medium heat and add half of the butter with a splash of oil. Add the thyme leaves, bay, leeks, spring onion and garlic and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until starting to catch and turn golden.
- Spread the softened veg in a large roasting tray. Using a small knife, slash the fish four times on each side, then place on the leeks.
- Bash and sprinkle over the fennel seeds and season well with sea salt and black pepper. Pour the cider around the fish and dot with the rest of the butter. Bake for 1 hour. Transfer the fish to a dish, cover with tin foil and leave to rest.
- Place the tray with the leeks on the hob over a medium-low heat, then add the mascarpone and let it bubble away for a few minutes, or until thickened. Season.
- Serve the whole roasted turbot on the bed of leeks. Slice and arrange the lemon on top, chop and scatter over the parsley leaves, then tuck in.
Grandads Cookbook may reference or include sections of text and images reproduced courtesy of:
- The Cornish Fishmonger
- Jamie Oliver