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6 replies to this topic

#1 Jonathan Day

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 01:00 AM

This weekend my fishmonger had some very good looking wild turbot. It's a fish I love to cook, but for some reason I struggle with cooking turbot more than with most fish. Either the center comes up a bit underdone, or the flesh around the edges is overdone. Every now and then I get it precisely right, but I would like to improve my "hit rate".

I've done turbot in salt, but this takes several kg of salt and is a bit fussier than I sometimes want.

How do you like to cook turbot? And how do you judge its doneness?
Jonathan Day
"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

#2 Shaun Hill

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 08:26 AM

I cook turbot off the bone in fillets preferably from a 3kg fish. The size of the fish will determine how dense and hard the thicker part of the fillet will be, smaller fish are softer and easier to judge but to my mind a 3 - 4 kg fish has the ideal texture. I am happy with it steamed or roast but rarely braised as fish this expensive needs to be shown at its best and braising will tend to overcook the flesh. I've never found turbot suited for deep frying

The thicker the piece of turbot the more difficult it is to tell exactly how it is cooked inside for it doesn't break into flakes in the way of cod or salmon and will feel fairly hard at every stage of the cooking process. I'm afraid practise is the only real solution. There is a certain amount of give from within the fish once cooked when you press it gently and the feel of a rubber ball inside when it is still too raw.

Sorry I cannot be more help. The only other answer is to carve the fish into two once you think it is just done - which lets you cook it some more if wrong - and try to remember the correlation between how it felt and how far it turned out to be cooked.

Good luck

#3 vmilor

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 11:17 AM

Which kind of turbot is this Jonathan? Is it from the Atlantic. The turbot I get in Europe is very very good--one of the very best in the world--but the best turbot comes from the Black Sea and it is most fatty in the second half of March and in April when it is caught in the Bosphorous, Istanbul. 3 kg at least and it has buttons. You can suck the bottons. What does yours look like? Does it have buttons?

Outside Istanbul best cooking of turbot I have seen is at Getaria near Donostia. Restaurants Kaia or Elkano. John Whitney and perhaps vserna and Pedro may attest this. They grill it in special wood and whole. We do the same in Turkey and eat with aragula. It is also fried in sizzling oil. An elaborate sauce is an overkill when you have a good turbot.

Bon appetit. Tell us which wine you are matching it with.

#4 Steve Martin

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 11:47 AM

Hello Shaun,

Poaching turbot is something of a classic and I generally prefer it to the drier cooking methods. I peel the skin off afterwards.
You didn't mention it and I wonder what you think of this method?

With most other fish, however, I am quite aggressive :smile: , using high heat and robust saucing.
Turbot is usually treated very gently, but how far have you gone the other way with saucing?

#5 Adam Balic

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 11:48 AM

Have been reading this with interest as I presently have a 2.5 kg Turbot which will be for dinner tonight.

Vmilor - The Black Sea turbot Psetta maxima. maeotica is a sub-species of turbot. What Johnathan has most likely cooked and what I have is North Atlantic version of Psetta maxima . I was had the choice between fish caught on the west coast or east coast of Scotland this morning, and even though they are the same type of fish they look very different, due to differences in camoflague colouration. The West coast fish are much lighter in colour to blend in with the more sandy seabeds.

Unfortunately, the buttons are very small in comparison to your Turkish turbot, so no sucking tonight.

Edited by Adam Balic, 12 May 2004 - 11:49 AM.

#6 Shaun Hill

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 01:19 AM

Steve makes an interesting point. I tend to leave the skin in place whilst cooking - irrespective of cooking method - and peel it away afterwards. The skin protects the flesh from drying out which is the main enemy in most cookery.

#7 Jonathan Day

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 11:49 AM

Vedat, the turbot was from Newland, in Cornwall -- no buttons. I think it weighed 2 kg.

Like Shaun I always leave the skin on a turbot when cooking it. This one was roasted, in a hot oven with lots of butter. I love the idea of cooking it in fillets, though -- I'll bet they will be easier to get right. I was pleased with the outcome on this one.

The wine was a Palette, Ch. Simone 2001. "Pairing" is generous; I am not at all systematic with food/wine matching.
Jonathan Day
"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."