Turbot drive: Mark Hix cooks with one of his favourite fishes

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

It is one of the finest fishes to grace any plate, so treat the turbot with a bit of ceremony and buy it whole. You'll be doing the oceans a favour, too, says our chef.

A whole turbot is often slightly out of reach financially for a lot of people looking for a good-value fish for dinner – it's even out of reach for some restaurants.

Turbot is one of my favourite fish – I caught one once, off Jersey a few years back, and it was rather like landing a bag of gravel, as the seven-kilo fish gave up no fight whatsoever. It certainly wasn't as challenging as getting as many meals as possible out of an expensive flat fish.

However, getting the most out of a fish, especially an expensive one, is the way we should all be thinking nowadays. Just going for the easy option and buying prime, centre-cut portions isn't going to help with the ongoing problem of the ocean's depleting stocks of fish.

One of the ways around this is to buy and use the whole fish, whether it be an expensive flat fish like a turbot, or a bargain pollock or coley. You will be surprised how many meals you can cleverly knock up this way – plus you'll be doing your bit for the ocean.

How to tackle your turbot

1. Remove the head by cutting up as close to the gills as possible with a heavy chopping knife.

2. Remove the collar and gills and as much of the non-fleshy meat as possible; put to one side for the collar recipe, below.

3. With a heavy chopping knife, split the tail, then cut down the centre of the fish where the line is, chopping through the centre bone with the heel of the knife until you cut through where the head was.

4. With a pair of scissors, cut the fins away and remove the tail.

Barbecue-style turbot collar

Serves 4

This is a good and tasty way to use those bits of meat around the gills and head which are nice and glutinous and often get thrown away or end up in stock.

They will vary in size and the best thing to do is ask your fishmonger to save them for you, and even store them in the freezer. The Japanese love this cut – next time you eat Japanese, look out for it on the menu. You can serve this as a starter or a main course and it's great with a green, or even seaweed, salad.

600g turbot or other large flat fish collars
5-6tbsp ketjap manis or thick soy sauce
2tbsp vegetable or corn oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a grill. Put the turbot collars in a bowl with the soy and oil, season lightly and mix well. Cook the collar for 4-5 minutes on each side, basting with any leftover soy and oil as it's cooking. Serve immediately.

Roast turbot with garlic shoots and scarlet elf cups

Serves 4

We discovered these little beauties a few years ago and have since started gathering scarlet elf cups ourselves down in Dorset – my chefs there are really getting quite competitive on the foraging front. They are one of the few mushrooms that grow in below-freezing conditions. I keep some inf the freezer – they cook up just as they do fresh. I'm doubting you will have any at hand so any wild or cultivated mushroom will do.

If you grow garlic at home you can use the young green shoots, or use wild garlic leaves; alternatively, some skinny spring onions will do.

4 pieces of turbot on the bone weighing about 250-280g each
A couple of handfuls of garlic shoots or wild garlic leaves
150g small wild mushrooms, cleaned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
40g butter
50-60ml olive oil

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Season the turbot and place in a roasting tray with the white skin up. Rub a little butter on the fish and spoon over a little oil. Roast for about 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness, and basting every so often.

To serve, melt the remaining butter in a frying pan, add the mushrooms, season and cook for a minute or so until just tender, then toss in the garlic shoots and cook for another 20 seconds. To serve, place the turbot in warmed serving plates and spoon the mushrooms and shoots on top.

Turbot cheek and leek broth

Serves 4

In and around the head of a flat fish like turbot or brill or a large plaice are some great chunks of meat, including the cheeks themselves. If you are clever, you could ask your fishmonger if he has any turbot or brill heads for a soup – or even your cat!

1 large turbot head, plus any bones from the fish
2 leeks, trimmed and washed
1 small bay leaf
10 white peppercorns
1ltr fish stock (a couple of good cubes will do)
100ml dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2tbsp chopped parsley (reserve the stalks for stock)

Roughly chop one of the leeks and wash well, then place in a saucepan with the turbot, bones, bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley stalks, fish stock and wine. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer very gently for about 20 minutes, skimming every so often.f Remove the head and place on a plate; strain the stock through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean saucepan.

Finely shred the second leek into rings, wash well and drain. Once the turbot head is cool enough to handle, remove any bits of meat you can, including the cheeks.

Check the seasoning on the stock and re-season if necessary; bring back to a simmer, add the leeks and simmer for 2-3 minutes until they are just cooked, then add the turbot meat and parsley, simmer for another 30 seconds and remove from the heat.

Turbot chop and coconut curry

Serves 4

This is basically a similar cut to the roast turbot, but cut from the centre, so they look a bit chop-like when cooked.

4 pieces of turbot cut on the bone as above and weighing about 250g
A handful of coriander to serve

For the curry

4tbsp vegetable or corn oil
500ml fish stock
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 green chillies, trimmed and finely chopped
3 medium onions, peeled, halved and finely chopped
3cm-piece of cinnamon stick
2 cloves
The seeds from 6 cardamom pods
12 or so fennel seeds
1tbsp freshly-grated turmeric or ½tsp powder
2tsp mustard seeds
1tsp fenugreek seeds
1tsp ground coriander
½tsp garam masala
200ml coconut milk
4-5tbsp chopped coriander, plus some sprigs for garnish

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan, season and quickly fry the turbot on both sides until lightly coloured, then remove from the pan and put to one side. Add the garlic, chilli, onions and all of the dried spices to the pan and cook on a low heat for about 6-7 minutes.

Add the fish stock, season, bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, add the pieces of turbot and the coconut milk and continue simmering for 7-8 minutes, then stir in the chopped coriander. Season to taste and serve. Serve with basmati rice.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luton – £25k

    25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?