Turbot with a Sherry Vinaigrette Baste Recipe

A whole turbot is a truly special thing. Not even vaguely wallet-friendly, it is widely regarded as one of the best fish you can possibly eat, so something to relish as a once-in-a-while treat for a celebration. Here it is treated in the Basque style, with a simple olive oil and sherry vinegar baste made famous by the restaurant Elkano in northern Spain.

Cheekily perhaps, I add a little hint of fennel seed as it feels like such a good flavour to pair with fish. It goes without saying that you can take a different, less extravagant flatfish and treat it in exactly the same way with equally delicious results. I would eat this with nothing more than new potatoes smothered in butter and a generous fresh green salad.

This recipe is extracted from Scorched by Genevieve Taylor (Quadrille, £25), Photography by Jason Ingram.

TRY: Genevieve's recipe for Devilled Mackarel & Monkfish Sumac Skewers with Warm Chickpea Purée, Spinach and Burnt Lemon!

READ: Genevieve's exclusive interview with Sous Chef 


Ingredients for Turbot with a Sherry Vinaigrette Baste


How to make Turbot with a Sherry Vinaigrette Baste

  1. Rest the turbot on a rack hung over a tray. Slide into the fridge, uncovered, and leave to dry for a good few hours – 12 or even 24 hours wouldn’t hurt. 

    When you are ready to cook, fire up a barbecue or fire pit good and hot, allowing the coals to burn fully. Arrange the embers for direct cooking, so work out how your fish cage sits on the grill bars and use tongs or a fire rake to get the coals underneath. It’s much easier to do this before you start cooking the fish and only then realizing your fuel and cage-and-fish arrangement is not aligned. Leave the cage over the fire to heat up. (Tip: Genevieve's using ProQ Afterburner Stainless Steel Grill for grilling!)

  2. While the fire is heating up, set a small pan on the hob over a medium heat and add the fennel seeds. Toast for a minute or so until they smell fragrant, then tip into a pestle and mortar and grind. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk in the olive oil, sherry vinegar and caster sugar. Season with plenty of black pepper and take to the barbecue with a silicone brush. 

  3. Remove the fish from the fridge and brush a little olive oil over both sides, sprinkle with the salt and take to the barbecue. 

    Open the hot fish cage and carefully rest the fish, dark-side down first, and cook for a couple of minutes directly over the hot coals. Turn, baste the top with a little of the vinaigrette and cook for another couple of minutes. Keep turning and basting until the fish reaches 55°C (131°F) when probed in the thickest part; it should take less than 15 minutes in total. Remove the fish cage to a tray, take inside and cover loosely with foil. Leave to rest for about 10 minutes until the temperature is 60°C (140°F). 

  4. Use a fish slice to release the fish from the cage and slide onto a warm serving plate. Drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil just before serving. 

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