When buying turbot avoid the very small ones as the fillets they produce can be too small. Equally, very large turbot may tend to be a little tough. Middle size (2 to 4 kilogrammes) are best.
As usual, when choosing fish avoid those with sunken eyes and use your nose to detect a fresh seawater smell. You can ask your fishmonger to fillet it for you into four pieces.
If you’re a dab hand at filleting fish yourself, take it home and use the bones to make a fish stock. Turbot is in season from September to around the middle of February.
It’s not a cheap fish but, when married with a few carefully selected ingredients, it makes a fine dish.
It’s a good source of protein and vitamins B3 and B12.Aswell as containing minerals important for the immune system, it also has magnesium and phosphorous which are important for metabolism and building strong bones and teeth.
We serve it at Thornton’s with a sauce made of beetroot and grapefruit, and the combination of flavours is a firm favourite with our customers.
Sautéed fillet of turbot with brioche, beetroot and grapefruit sauce
1 diced shallot
1 1/2 pink grapefruit
Juice of half a lemon
65ml Noilly Prat
65ml dry white wine
250ml fish stock
Fresh milled white pepper
Puréed potatoes ingredients
4 Maris Piper potatoes
100g unsalted butter
Roasted beetroot ingredients
12 small beetroots
Marinate the turbot in olive oil and refrigerate for 30 minutes while you get busy with the sauce and vegetables.
Dice and sauté the shallots with a little olive oil for a couple of minutes, add one pink grapefruit (skinned and chopped) and sauté for a further three minutes. Add three peeled and diced beetroots to the mixture.
Pour in the Noilly Prat and bring to the boil. Simmer and reduce by three quarters and add the fish stock. Bring the liquid back to the boil and then simmer until it reduces by half. Season to taste. Remove the sauce from the heat and pass it through a fine sieve.
Use a juicer to extract the juice from the remaining two beetroots and add the juice to the sauce. Bring the sauce back to the boil, then simmer until it is again reduced by half.
Taste and correct the seasoning, Cut the unsalted butter into small pieces and whisk it into the sauce to finish.
To prepare the vegetables, wash the baby beetroots, cut into quarter pieces and wrap them loosely in tinfoil.
Squeeze juice of orange and grapefruit over and place in oven at 125 degrees centigrade for an hour. Remove and they are ready to serve. Meanwhile, boil and purée the potatoes, and add butter and cream and season to taste.
To prepare the fish, heat the oven to 170 degrees, then season and sauté the turbot in a hot pan with a drop of olive oil until golden brown. Turn over fillets and put in the oven for about three minutes.
Remove the turbot from the oven and squeeze the juice of half a grapefruit over the fillets.
Cut the brioche into small cubes and arrange them on the fish, place the pan under a hot grill until the brioche turns golden brown. While this is happening you can reheat the sauce.
To serve, place some potato purée in the centre of the plate with the turbot on top. Pour the sauce around the potato, garnish with the beetroot and sprinkle with capers.
Kevin Thornton is a Michelin-starred chef and owner of Thornton’s Restaurant on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin. www.thorntonsrestaurant.com