Arguably the ‘king’ of all flat fish: turbot is an expensive fish – but it’s well worth it price if you are looking for a special dinner. Most turbot landed in the UK goes to the premium restaurant trade and chefs love it!
It is classed as a left handed fish, this means that the eyes are on the left side of the head and it is closely related to another, equally delicious flat fish, brill.
Caught around the UK coast, whole wild turbot can grow to a substantial size – weighing several kilo’s. It is diamond shaped and has dark mottled top skin, that have several sharp turbucles (barbs) on the dark upper side of the fish, the underside or ‘white side’ is smooth. It hides in the gravel of the seabed using its fins, efficiently flicking the seabed over its back for camouflage.
It is cut into either fillets, off the bone and skinned - or as ‘darnes’ – a section of fish that has the bone running through the middle.
It is classed as a white fish; it is low in fat and sweet in taste. The flavor is so superior that it barely needs any help at all. Delicate herbs and buttery sauces work the best: hollandaise sauce is a classic accompaniment.
It is versatile and suits several methods of cooking: grilled, pan-fried, roasted and steamed. The fillets are firm and although flaky in texture larger fish are firm enough to be good stir-fried and still hold together well. One of my favourite ways to cook it is stir-fried or steamed with ginger and spring onion, it simply can’t be beaten. .
It has been served on the best menus for centuries and it is still possible to find a traditional ‘turbotiere’ (a diamond shaped fish kettle) that was used specifically for cooking turbot for the tables of the wealthy.
Did you know that turbot is also:
- low in fat
- low in saturates
- low in sugars and
- low in salt
As well as:
- Protein which contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and muscle mass
Billingsgate Seafood School