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

1 leek – the greener top portion

1 onion

2bay leaves

 

For the fish and sauce

1 medium carrot

White part of the leek from above

Small tray of button mushrooms for the fish

200ml white wine (or more stock)

150ml double cream

Chives or parsley to garnish

Butter

Salt, pepper and lemon



Dad's Recipe Tales

Oh no! The fishmonger has filleted my turbot!

I must have mentioned fillets. But really I was looking forward to filleting the fish myself. ‘Don’t worry sir,’ said the fishmonger, ‘I’ll give you some trial fish next time.’ Does he mean he’ll be giving me some spare turbots to practise on? Probably not.

But what was I thinking? Why was I asking for my turbot to be filleted? The ‘cognoscenti’ of the fish-eating world would shudder at the thought. They know that ‘cooking on the bone’ is sacrosanct: just ask a chef. Nathan Outlaw says cooking on the bone is more forgiving, but also the fish can 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 perhaps the main reason a turbot should be cooked whole is the price tag. Such an expensive and noble fish should not have to suffer the indignity of being processed into commonplace chops, steaks and fillets. So do the right thing. Next time you buy a turbot – cook it whole and present it at the table on a grand platter so that its entire magnificence may be celebrated. In this way, you’ll not only offset the cost through the pleasure of eating the ‘king of fish’ on the bone, but also by the astonished admiration of your family and guests.

 

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 fish and the trimmings and the vegetables in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes – strain and reduce.
  3. Cook the vegetables: Slice all the veg into medium sized thin ribbons. Decide on quantity according to your preference, a restaurant will use a small amount of each vegetable – but for the home I like to add more. (Herein lies a bigger discussion about portions and ‘sides’ of vegetables. This is a decidedly posh dish and is more impressive with less on the plate – you can always have extra vegetables in a side dish…)
  4. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter to a thick-bottomed pan with lid. Sauté the carrot and leek for a couple of minutes, without colouring. Add the mushrooms and wine, stir gently. When the wine has reduced add ¾ cup of hot fish stock, put on the lid and cook gently until the vegetables are just done.
  5. Make the sauce: Whilst the veg is cooking put the cream and the roe into a small processor and blitz until smooth. Put into a separate pan with ¼ cup of stock and heat – reduce this down, season with salt, pepper and lemon. Strain (with very fine sieve) into the pan of vegetables and stir.
  6. Cook the fish: Put the fish on top of the veg and steam until just cooked. Tastes and season the sauce.
  7. Serve: Arrange on plates and garnish. Serve with potatoes and spinach.

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