Tuesday 14 July 2009

Turbot Charged with Fennel, Tarragon and Vermouth

Moxon's in Clapham South must have known we were coming... why else after a hard day's cycling to and from Greenwich in the rain, would they sell us a whole turbot for a tenner! Admittedly it was only small. But special nonetheless. If Santa punishes boys who have been naughty with lumps of coal, the fishmonger Gods reward energetic cyclists with stunning fish.

Giddy with excitement we rushed back with our precious cargo and brainstormed our approach. We plundered our ever growing library of cooking books for ideas and then set off to Balham to get the rest of our goodies. As ever, we used the books more for ideas to adapt rather than recipes to follow slavishly as you'll se below.

Turbot face

Turbot top down 2

Having named our turbot, Timmy, we decided he'd taste good with an aniseedy assault. So we roasted a bulb of fennel in salt and olive oil with a roughly chopped bulb of onion and a couple of whole garlic cloves. These softened and sweetened for 15 minutes before we added our turbot which had been seasoned and covered in herbs from Cowie's garden. Plenty of chopped thyme, marjoram, fennel frills and tarragon found their way into the crevices our fishmonger had cut.

Turbot top down

Herby turbot

We poured over a trickle of vermouth and a large glass of dry white wine and a glug of olive oil before covering with foil and roasting in the oven for 25 minutes. Wafts of aniseed and sophistication enveloped the kitchen. A neighbour even leaned over the garden fence and asked what we were cooking! What emerged from the oven was so good I've had to censor the photograph.

The flesh parted company with the skin and the bones with such ease and stayed firm that I almost rang up Rick Stein and Richard Corrigan to do a little bit of boasting!

The subtle multi faceted aniseedy notes were so much fun. They mellowed and combined to give a herby backdrop that acted as a podium for the turbot to strut its stuff on. The onion and fennel had become soft and sweet having absorbed the turbot juice and plenty of white wine.

The turbot was treated to an introduction by and accompaniment of Ottolenghi dishes which you can see below...

Peaches and parma ham

Peach, feta and parma ham salad for starter with Nudo mandarin oil dressing

Fregola with goodies

Fregola with goodies (if anyone has any suggestions for what to cook with this we'd love to know!)

Beans with hazlenuts

Beans and mange tout with roasted hazelnuts

Aubergine Ottolenghi

Aubergine with parsley, garlic and olive oil

It was a fabulous meal that was perhaps a touch more indulgent than we had planned. It certainly made me understand why someone would want to go to war over a turbot.


Unknown said...

great to see you are still loving your new Ottolenghi cookbook. I awarded it my personal cookbook of the year last year (obviously a highly sought after prize!). Seriously such great ideas for flavour combinations in there. Living around the corner from Ottolenghi does not help my cause either as I am always popping in for a bite which can get expensive!

Ollie said...

Delicious - I love fennel with fish. What did you cook Timmy in? It looks shallow and cast iron?

Browners said...

@Gourmet Chick - It's a great book and is fuelling our imaginations as well as our bodies at the moment. Loving it. Still haven't been to any of the restauarants/cafes/delis yet.

@Ollie - Timmy was cooked in a shallow cast iron Le Cruesset pan which was the perfect size.

curiouseater said...

my gosh what a meal! It looks a veritable feast, I love that you eat so well. MUust get that book, the salads look great.

Browners said...

@curiouseater - It was delicious. You've got to get the book. Ottolenghi's salads are awesome. So imaginative.

Hollow Legs said...

I love that you named him. A beautiful looking specimen.

I need, yes need, that book.

Browners said...

@Lizzie - Timmy was a star! I think I might name all my favourite fish and meat from now on! Sidney the Squirrel. Harry the Hare. Timmy the Turbot. Etc. Ottolenghi's book is brilliant.

Helen said...

This sounds so damn good, what a fine fishy. Loving the censored photo at the end too - protect my sensitive eyes from the food porn!

Browners said...

@Helen - Timmy was too pornographic/blurred! I can't recommend this recipe highly enough. It was delicious.

A Girl Has to Eat said...

Hey this looks really good. Timmy? I like it.

Food Urchin said...

Phwoor, is there some newsagent I can go into and purchase some sordid turbot shots from under the counter?

Excellent post, been hankering after the Ottolenghi cookbook too.

Browners said...

@A Girl Has to Eat - Timmy was a legend. Glad you liked it.

@Food Urchin - Properly filthy fish porn is hard to find in the UK. But is readily available in Paris. Just don't be tempted to do what I just did and google "filthy fish porn". Ughhh.....


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