BIG TONI’S ITALIAN KITCHEN

Roast Turbot with Vegetable Risotto                 Sept 2017

It was my wife’s birthday last week and she got one of the strangest, but most delicious birthday presents ever. Our dear friend Hannah bought her a whole Turbot. Yes, that’s right a whole rather large beautiful Turbot.

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Now unless you work in a fish restaurant I don’t imagine you cook a whole Turbot very often so the first thing to consider is how you want to tackle it.

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One could fillet it and then pan-fry it, I would have got 4 very nice fillets of our Turbot but I decided I would roast it whole. This way I get the tender meaty fish at its moist flavoursome best. 

Its wise to baste the fish with pan juices a couple of times during cooking to keep it as moist as possible.

I also decided to serve it on a delicious vegetable risotto

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For 6 people you will need:

  •     1 Turbot about 2kg 
  •     3 tablespoons of olive oil
  •     4 to 5 Lemons
  •     Glass of good white wine

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For the Risotto you will need:

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  •     1.5 lire (2 1/2 pints) chicken or vegetable stock (home made would be         best)
  •     2 finely chopped shallots
  •     60g (2oz) butter
  •     3 tablespoons of olive oil
  •     400g of Arborio rice
  •     3 sticks of celery finely chopped
  •     2 medium carrots finely chopped
  •     250g Petit Poi’s
  •     A bunch of fresh asparagus
  •     A hand full of fresh Parsley
  •     Salt and pepper to taste

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How to make:

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Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4

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Place the turbot into a large baking tray, put a layer of  lemon slices in the bottom of the baking tray to flavour the fish and keep it slightly off the tray bottom. 

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Drizzle over some good olive oil, lemon juice, a splash of white wine and plenty of seasoning dot with slices of lemon.

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Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the flesh has turned opaque and flakes from the bone when tested at the thickest part of the fish. Cover with tin foil halfway through cooking if the fish is starting to look dry.

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Risotto:

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Bring the stock to a simmer.

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In a heavy bottomed large sauce pan or casserole add the chopped shallots, carrots and celery to the pan and cook until the shallots are translucent not coloured. Add the rice and stir until all the rice has been coated with the oil. 

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Once coated add a ladleful of stock to the rice, stir until the rice absorbs the liquid and has reached a porridge like consistency, add another ladle of hot stock and continue to stir.

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Make sure you don’t let any rice stick to the bottom of the pan, keep adding the stock and when its been absorbed by the rice add some more, remember do not stop stirring.

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After about 15 minuets add the chopped asparagus and the peas

You want these to be just cooked when the rice is ready so don’t add them too soon or they will be overdone.

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It will take about 25 to 30 minutes to cook the risotto but after about 20 minuets cut the amount of stock you add to half a ladle each time and taste the rice. When it is cooked it will have a creamy consistency, bound together, fluid but not runny.

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When the rice is done turn of the heat mix in the parsley and butter check the seasoning and serve.

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You can if you so wish portion the fish and place it on individual plates or you can place this magnificent fish in the centre of the table and let everyone tuck in.

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Thanks Hannah. Can’t wait until Jane’s next birthday…

"Carnaroli'' is the king of risotto rice by Riso Gallo, an exceptional quality rice with large, full-bodied grains that encompasses six generations of passion and culture for rice.

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From all good supermarkets.

Outstanding Sicilian oil. Yellow-green color, smooth taste, unfiltered. Limited quantities. The oil is produced at the estate of Prince Pignatelli at Castelvetrano in Sicily using the Nocellara varietal. The 100% Nocellara del Belice olives are hand-picked from the trees. An exceptional oil. 

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You can order it here.