Turbot

Turbot

By
From
Finding Fire
Serves
4

Anton Chekhov once wrote, 'I stuffed myself with bread so as not to dream of turbot', but no amount of bread can satiate my hunger for this fish. It is simply incredible and unmatched in its meaty goodness. Turbot is one of the most prized fish of the Atlantic coast and during my time in the Basque country we often cooked large specimens weighing up to 7 kilograms (15½ pounds). To really do justice to this fish and to truly understand it, you must cook it whole, preferably over a wood fire. I encourage you to savour every part of it, from the succulent cheeks to the fatty ends of the fins (so succulent that your lips will stick together with delight). The memory of it still haunts my dreams to this day.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 whole turbot, 2–3 kg
sea salt
50ml dry white wine
200ml fruity, mild extra-virgin olive oil, such as arbequina or koroneika
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 bunch chevril, finely chopped

Method

  1. 1. Prepare your embers.
  2. 2. Scale and gut the fish, and remove the gills. Rinse briefly and dry well with paper towel.
  3. 3. Season the cavity of the fish and, in an enclosed grill rack, grill 15 cm (6 in) above evenly distributed embers for 8–10 minutes on each side until beautifully caramelised. The eyes should begin to pop.
  4. 4. Transfer the fish to a tray and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  5. 5. In a small saucepan, bring the wine to the boil, and boil for 1 minute. Reserve.
  6. 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. 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. 8. Close the fish so it appears whole again, pour the emulsion over it, finish with the chervil and serve immediately.
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