Sunday, August 4, 2019

End of Holiday Celebration with Turbot for Dinner

We recently had a two week break where we headed up to the North of England and were spoilt by glorious weather. There was plenty of interesting food too, but the weekend we came home a local fishing boat was selling direct from the quay in Appledore and we picked up a beautiful whole turbot weighing just over 2kg.

This beauty provided the two of us with three perfect dinners, though the final meal of curry did have some prawns added for variety. I needed to rummage around for my largest chopping board and strongest, sharpest knives to make cutting the whole fish up a little easier. The fish was divided into a combination of two thick steaks on the bone, two good fillets off the bone but skin left on, and the rest of the turbot flesh removed from the bone and skinned to use in the curry. The head and bones were all used to make fish stock with some of the tastier morsels from the cooked head being quietly reserved for cooks perks.

The first meal we had used the bone in steaks.  I served them with a gratin of potatoes and baby turnips flavoured with garlic and thyme. The dish was a much simplified version of a Nathan Outlaw recipe reproduced on and printed in Nathan Outlaw's Fish Kitchen cookbook. I did not make the seaweed butter but added plenty of plain butter.

For a video clip of Nathan Outlaw preparing a small whole turbot to cook as 'on the bone' steaks do watch this 2012 Saturday Kitchen YouTube clip.

For the fillets of turbot I chose a recipe from a much treasured cookbook, Joyce Molyneux's The Carved Angel Cookbook. The Carved Angel was a restaurant in Dartmouth, Devon that was once run by Joyce Molyneux who favoured local produce and encouraged local growers and foragers to supply her restaurant. There is a quote in the book that I would wish could be part of all restaurant staff training ' ..we try to make service as unobtrusive as possible, anticipating people's wants, without constantly fluttering around them'.

There is an elegant simplicity about all of the recipes in the book and this turbot dish is flavoured with just lime and ginger.

1 lime
4 x 175g turbot fillets
1 tsp grated ginger root
salt & pepper

Hollandaise sauce to serve ( I cheated and just served a good quality mayonnaise)

Preheat oven to 140C

First pare the zest off the whole lime with a small sharp knife and then cut each strip of zest into thin shreds removing any white pith first.

Peel the thick white pith off the whole lime and remove each lime segment from the surrounding skin. (BBC food website page showing the segmenting technique).

Place the turbot fillets in a buttered ovenproof dish and scatter over the lime segments, half of the shredded zest and all of the grated ginger.

Season with salt and pepper.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the turbot is just cooked.

Blanch the remaining zest strips in boiling water for 1 minute and then refresh under cold water.

When ready to serve, remove the foil and scatter over the remaining zest strips.

Hollandaise sauce will go well with this dish but I find it very rich so am more inclined to serve a small portion of a light mayonnaise and have buttery mashed potato or buttered new potatoes alongside.

The final dish we cooked from our turbot was a Rick Stein curry of potatoes and peas which was augmented with a small addition of turbot and prawns near the end of the cooking time. I had a small quantity of home grown french beans in the garden so took the liberty of adding those too. So apart from the spicing,  I rather veered away from the original recipe. This was served with cucumber raita and a fresh mint and coriander chutney.

While we were away the weather was very warm and dry so, I was amazed that nearly all of the plants in both the garden and allotment survived. The warm weather had brought a lot of the garden plants into flower so we were welcomed home by quite a lot of flowers in bloom, some of which I picked to enjoy indoors:
Dahlias, purple verbena, lavender, purple sage leaves and greek oregano flowers

1 comment:

  1. I'm very jealous of that turbot and of the dishes it produced, of course. It's such a fine fish but tends to be way too expensive whenever I see a decent one. I'm so pleased that someone else still treasures the Carved Angel Cookbook. My copy went "missing" shortly after a (supposed) friend borrowed it or, at least, that's my story. Happily I bought a second-hand copy to replace it last year. It's a wonderful book that still inspires me and reminds me sometimes of the type of fine dishes and, perhaps, a style of cooking that we're in danger of forgetting.