Turbot & Scallops in a Wine & Cream Sauce

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Serves: 2
  • Level: medium

‘…This meal will transport your guests from the dining room to a fancy restaurant just looking at it …’

Pete
‘Delicate and subtle white meat in a delicious fish broth, bit like the picture really…’

What you need

400g – 500g skinned filleted fish – turbot, brill, Dover sole. Retain the bones from the fish.

4 large scallops with roe, sliced in half

 

For the stock

1 carrot

The top green part of one leek

1 onion

2 bay leaves

For the fish and sauce

1 medium carrot

White part of the leek from above

200g button mushrooms

125ml white wine

100ml double cream

Chives or parsley to garnish

Butter

Lemon



Dad's Recipe Tales

Oh no! The fishmonger has filleted my turbot!

I asked for turbot, but somehow it got filleted. Surely, a fishmonger would discretely balk at the notion, politely asking if I was sure I wanted my turbot filleted. They, along with the cognoscenti of the fish-eating world, know that cooking turbot ‘on the bone’ is sacrosanct – repeating the maxim: you cannot improve on a tranche of turbot cooked simply in butter and lemon.

And it’s not just turbot. Chefs also agree on the benefits of cooking any fish whole. Nathan Outlaw says cooking on the bone is more forgiving and allows the fish to be ‘rested’ like meat; Marcus Waring says that cooking on the bone enhances the flavour and Mark Hix says the practice of cutting out middle fillets is wasteful and unsustainable – cooking fish whole is doing the ocean a favour.

But when it comes to turbot, there is another particular reason for cooking the fish whole – its astronomical price tag. Turbot is the ‘king of fish’, the chateaubriand of the fish world. Such an exquisite and noble fish should not have to suffer the indignity of being sliced and cut into commonplace fillets. It is therefore a matter of propriety that the fish should be cooked whole and presented to the table on a grand platter, such that its entire magnificence may be celebrated. The cook may then gracefully acknowledge the justification of the expense through not only the impressive display of such fine quality fish, but also the appreciative coo’s and ahh’s of admiring guests.

In the meantime, I have found and adapted a recipe using fillets of turbot.

How Dad Cooked It

This recipe is based on an early paperback recipe book by ‘Richard’ Stein ‘English Seafood Cookery – 1988’ published before he became a popular television personality.

The recipe requires making stock from the bones – something I always do. Scallops come with roe which are fine to poach with the fish, but I use the roe in the sauce, which lends a nice hint of pink to the proceedings.

  1. Prepare the fish. Fillet the fish and trim removing any bones
  2. Make the stock. Put the bones, trimmings and the vegetables in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes and strain.
  3. Cook the vegetables. Cut the carrot and leek into medium-sized thin ribbons, cut the mushrooms into slices. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter to a thick-bottomed pan with lid. Gently fry the carrot and leek for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil, add 150ml of the hot fish stock, put the lid on the pan and cook gently until the vegetables are still firm but nearly done.
  4. Make the sauce. Whilst the vegetables are cooking put the cream and the roe into a small processor and blitz until smooth. Put into a separate pan with 60ml of the fish stock and heat until thick and strain.
  5. Cook the fish. Add the turbot and scallops to the vegetable pan and poach with the lid on for a couple minutes (add a little more stock if necessary). Add the cream and roe mixture. Heat and stir gently. Season with salt, pepper and lemon.
  6. Serve. Arrange on plates and garnish. Serve with potatoes and spinach.

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