Catch it and Cook it – Turbot

If there’s one thing I enjoy more than anything else, it’s a day fishing aboard one of the charter boats that work out of Brighton Marina on the UK south coast. With luck, you can take home your catch and cook it!

In the winter we fish for big cod and pollack but in the summer for a couple of months, we fish for turbot.

Like Halibut, Turbot is a highly prized species (and often regarded as the best of the flatfish) with great flavour and firm, white flesh.

It has an almost round-shaped body, studded with bony tubercles on its dark side. Colour varies from light to dark brown, spotted with green or black and a white blind side.

The texture is similar to Halibut, but it has a slightly more pronounced ‘fishy’ taste, so requires very little to enhance the flavour.

It’s also a chef’s dream, as it retains plenty of moisture during cooking, preventing it from drying out – making it ideal for sharing.

author with turbot aboard Seabreeze3
Author with Turbot aboard Seabreeze3

It is not unusual to catch 3 or 4 good size fish and a number of juveniles during an 8-hour session, but we only keep what we want for the table, the rest go back under catch and release.

Turbot spoils quickly if not bled soon after catching and then kept cool for the rest of the day and the journey back to London.

Although I can clean the fish myself, usually one of the boat crew is good enough to do it for me, so the fish is ready for cooking when I get home.

turbot in the pan
Turbot in the Pan

After an early start, 2 hours driving each way, and a days fishing, the best bit is yet to come. Cooking and sharing a nice turbot with the family. It will keep happily in the fridge overnight but in my opinion, the fresher the better. Catch and cook it!

My favourite recipe for baked turbot is one of Jamie Olivers, it must be good judging from the way everyone dives in!

For those who may be interested and would like to try to catch a turbot for themselves, I can recommend either Seabreeze3 or Grey Viking fishing charters, both based in Brighton.

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