Posts Tagged ‘beetroot’

Turbo-charge your turbot

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Turbot is a large, flat fish with a subtle, delicate flavour. Found close to shore in sandy, shallow waters, it can weigh between 13 and 18 kilogrammes.

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

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 pieces of wild turbot about 100g each
1 slice of brioche
Juice of half a pink grapefruit
10ml virgin olive oil
50g unsalted butter
Sea salt
Fresh milled white pepper

Sauce ingredients
1 diced shallot
1 1/2 pink grapefruit
Juice of half a lemon
65ml Noilly Prat
65ml dry white wine
250ml fish stock
5 beetroots
Sea salt
Fresh milled white pepper

Puréed potatoes ingredients
4 Maris Piper potatoes
100g unsalted butter
100ml cream

Roasted beetroot ingredients
12 capers
12 small beetroots
1 grapefruit
1 orange

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.

Bowled over by beetroot

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

My mother told me long ago that there were two things in life everyone should be able to do: cook and repair clothes.

That way, you’d never go hungry or naked. Cooking is still an essential skill, but one that is fast disappearing in homes all around the country.

Creating good food takes time and patience, but the best advice I can give is not to be intimidated and just get stuck in.

Cooking, I believe, is both a science and an art. As with the creation of other works of art, you can’t be too cautious in the kitchen.

Cooking has always come relatively easy to me, but I know that’s not the same for everyone.

So in my recipes I take different elements of my dishes and present the best and easiest way to create them, without losing the ethos of Thornton’s in the process. So go on, take the plunge!

Beetroot salad

Beetroot, with its magic burgundy colour and smell of summer, is perfect in salads at this time of year. When I was young, most beetroot was bought in a jar, because it took so long to cook, and there is a certain knack to capturing the rich colour – which can be lost when beetroot is boiled.

The best way to protect beetroot’s flavour and colour is to bake it in the oven, unpeeled. When working with beetroot be careful – the colour gets everywhere.

I use surgical gloves which you can get in the chemist and which protect my hands from staining.

Roasted beetroot summer salad, serves ten

2kg fresh beetroot
2 grapefruits
2 oranges
100g of rock salt

1. Wash the beetroot, arrange the salt on a tray covered with tinfoil. Then wash the grapefruits and oranges and cut into small pieces. Place the beetroot into the centre of the tinfoil, squeeze the citrus fruit on top and drop it on top of the beetroot, fold the tinfoil into a parcel around the beetroot and close.

2. Place it into a warm oven at gas mark 3 or 130 C in a fan for about four hours. Then remove it from the oven, insert a knife into the beetroot and if it goes in easily, it’s cooked. Open the tinfoil and you will get a wonderful smell as the beetroot cools down. The citrus fruit helps the beetroot retain its colour without taking away from its flavour.

3. Remove the skin on the beetroot by rubbing it with your fingers (still wearing gloves). It should come off easily.

4. You can slice the beetroot thinly or dice it, but again be careful where you do it, as the colour gets everywhere.

5. Dress the beetroot with the following dressing and serve with salad leaves.

Salad dressing
4 oranges
1 lemon
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
100ml virgin olive oil
20ml of cider vinegar
1 egg yolk
Sea salt
Fresh milled white pepper to taste

1. Peel the lemon and oranges and chop into fine pieces, place in a pot and barely cover with water. Then place on the stove and bring to the boil.

2. Remove and place in a blender and cool. Add the egg yolk and mustard, seasoning, cider vinegar and olive oil, mix for one minute, taste and season.

Salad leaves
With so much variety in salad leaves and herbs available in the supermarkets now, there is no reason why you can’t make an exciting salad with the best, fresh, young seasonal leaves.

Try lambs lettuce, sorrel – which gives a slight lemon taste – frizze, baby oak leaf, leaves from young broccoli, chives and chive flowers.

Experiment with other flavours, too. I picked a bunch of wild rocket recently when out walking, and it made a beautiful, simple salad with balsamic vinegar dressing and parmesan cheese.

All you have to do is wash the leaves, dry them on kitchen paper or in a salad spinner, and place them in a bowl and season. Slice the beetroot into thin slices, arrange them on the plate and make a little bouquet of salad leaves.

Mix a little dressing just before you sprinkle it around the salad. Serve with a few beetroot crisps.