The Crooked Billet

Roasted Whole Turbot with Cherry Tomatoes

Serves 4

Roasted Whole Turbot with Cherry Tomatoes

Turbot is fish royalty. Its firm, succulent, almost steak-like flesh is such that it will stand up to most cooking techniques – frying, grilling, baking, steaming, poaching & even barbequing. In the following recipe, I’m baking the fish whole in foil. Simple is always best when cooking fish – this couldn’t be simpler.

Turbot doesn’t appear on the supermarket radar; Machins in Falise Square will order you one – as will Frosts, Smelly Alley in Reading. Otherwise call me at the Crooked Billet & I’ll order a fish for you.

Any whole flatfish will work wonderfully for this quick & easy recipe – halibut, brill, sole, plaice or megrim.

1 turbot weighing about 2kg – descaled, gutted & trimmed, skin on

100g unsalted butter

Good swig of olive oil

600g cherry tomatoes

2 dessert spoons capers

4 sprigs thyme

4 bay leaves

Malden salt & freshly ground black pepper

Oil a roasting tin sufficiently sized to accommodate the turbot. Sprinkle Malden salt on the oiled tin, along with a generous couple of twists of black pepper before laying the fish down. Regardless of species – plaice, baby halibut, flounder, brill etc lay black skin up.

Season the top side (black) with salt & pepper & then dot with little pieces of butter all over it.

Place the cherry tomatoes around the fish, along with the capers, bay & leaves plucked from the thyme.

Bake in a hot oven preheated to 220°C for 35 minutes until the fish is just cooked & the tomatoes are puffed & blistered & gorgeously voluptuous.

The crisp blistered skin of the turbot is as delicious as the white meat beneath & the unrivalled sweetness of little tomatoes, which explode in the mouth & piquant caper flowers, sets of these simple, happily married flavours perfectly.

Once roasted, the flesh of turbot will lift easily from the comb of bones in neat fillets. Remove the two upper fillets – a pallet knife is a handy tool. Peel up the skeleton to reveal the lower fillets.

Serve the fish with the tomatoes & all their buttery, salty-sweet caper roasting juices.