Roast turbot with leeks, tarragon and riesling
- December 2022
- Serves 3-4
- Hands-on time 20 min. Oven time 15 min
Celebrate Christmas or a special family gathering with roast turbot. Mitch Tonk’s whole fish is incredibly quick to cook and has a firm, rich, meaty texture. Roast turbot is a serious treat, less pricey than it used to be and most definitely brings drama to the table.
Mitch’s story: An acclaimed restaurateur and chef, Mitch Tonks is also one of the most respected voices on matters of UK fishing. His first restaurant, The Seahorse in Dartmouth, continues to celebrate local seafood, as do his other Rockfish restaurants across the South West. Mitch is also an ambassador for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
Check out more Christmas main courses that aren’t turkey.
- 43.8g (23.9g saturated)
- 12.9g (11g sugars)
- 2 bunches spring onions
- 1 fennel bulb
- 3 large leeks, outer leaves removed and washed
- 125g unsalted butter
- 125ml riesling
- 1 whole turbot (1.2-1.5kg)
- ½ bunch tarragon, leaves picked
- Juice 1 lemon
- Heat the oven to 180°C fan/gas 6. Finely slice the spring onions and fennel, then cut the leeks into 3cm chunks. Put a large flameproof roasting dish (big enough to hold the turbot) over a medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the onions, fennel and leeks, then season well with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften (about 8-10 minutes).
- Pour in the wine and stir it through the veg, then turn off the heat. Put the turbot on top of the vegetables in the tray, white skin side down, then make 2 slashes across its back. Season with a pinch of salt and put in the oven to cook for 15-18 minutes. You’ll know when the fish is cooked through when a milky liquid appears in the slashes – this is protein being released from the flesh.
- Scatter over the tarragon leaves and squeeze over the lemon juice. Bring the roasting dish to the table (or transfer to a serving platter) and carve pieces of fillet from the turbot to serve to your guests alongside the caramelised vegetables underneath. Remember there are 4 fillets on a turbot – remove the first 2 on top, then flip it over and remove the 2 on the bottom.
Filleting a cooked fish is much easier than filleting a raw one, and cooking the fish on the bone ensures it doesn’t dry out and stays beautifully flavourful. Opt for a longer knife with a bit of flexibility if you have one, and use the bones to guide where you cut – the fillet should slip right off them, leaving nothing behind.
If you have more people to feed, you can double up on turbots or source a larger one from your fishmonger – just increase the cooking time by around 1 minute per extra 100g of weight.
If you don’t have a good fishmonger near you, check out our pick of the best home fish delivery services.
“Roasting a whole fish always feels celebratory. A 1.2-1.5kg whole turbot will feed 3 people and easily competes with a good joint of beef or premium turkey on price. For the home cook, it couldn’t be simpler to prepare – I like to serve it with rosemary roasted potatoes and a romesco sauce.” Mitch Tonks
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