Anton Chekhov once wrote, ‘I stuffed myself with bread so as not to dream of turbot’. It must have been some darn good bread to feed that hunger! King of the sea, highly prized, and for good reason, Turbot in our opinion is undoubtedly the most meaty lip smackingly delicious creature the ocean gifts us. At Woodsmith we are always developing recipes and we love to share them on our website, but for this one, we have kept it simple and looks to one of our favourite Woodsmiths, Lennox Hastie, for his recipe.
Preparation Time: none
Cooking Time: 25 min
2-3kg Whole Turbot
50ml Dry White Wine
200ml Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
Small Bunch Chervil
1. Prepare your embers.
2. Scale and gut the fish, and remove the gills. Rinse briefly and dry well with paper towel.
3. Season the cavity of the fish and, in an enclosed grill rack, grill 15 cm above evenly distributed embers for 8–10 minutes on each side until beautifully caramelised. The eyes should begin to pop.
4. Transfer the fish to a tray and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
5. In a small saucepan, bring the wine to the boil, and boil for 1 minute. Reserve.
6. Using scissors, cut the fish from tail to head along the lateral line (the seam that runs down the middle of the fish). With a spatula, push the flesh away from the spine to release the fillet and open the fish. Cut along the sides of the backbone and remove the spine and ribs. Season well with salt.
7. In a small saucepan, warm the olive oil and pour it over the fish. Add the lemon juice and white wine, and strain all the juices along with the oil back into the pan. Heat the liquid, whisking continuously to allow an emulsion to form.
8. Close the fish so it appears whole again, pour the emulsion over it, finish with the chervil and serve immediately.
We love to celebrate this triumphant fish by serving it whole on a large plate and accompanying it with garden leaves as a fresh green salad, if you have edible flowers available they are a lovely delicate touch. Aioli and chimichurri are wonderful additional side sauces to compliment the chervil and wine the fish is basted in. There is often plenty of fish to go around but if you are feeding a crowd throw some jersey royals on to boil as their sweet flesh keeps everything on this feast tasting light and summery.