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Recipe for May’s fish focus - Basque-Style Grilled Whole Turbot

Our fish focus for May is Turbot.

  • Turbot are a large flatfish, and generally prefer sandy and muddy seabeds. They can also be found around light mixed and broken ground, and will even be found around rough ground if a source of food is present there.

  • Turbot are hunters and feed mostly on small fish. In summer they will take sandeels, sprats and even smaller mackerel which are abundant at that time of year. In winter they will feed on species such as whiting and rockling, as well as taking crabs and prawns if they are present.

  • Turbot are very similar looking to brill, with the main differences being that turbot have an almost completely circular body and rougher skin than the brill.

Here is a fantastic recipe for a Grilled Whole Turbot. Give it a go and let us know!

Basque Grilled Whole Turbot

Serves 2 to 3


  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) white wine vinegar

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 (2 to 2 1/2 pound/ 1kg) whole turbot, gutted


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon (2g) salt. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Alternatively, place ingredients in a tightly sealing jar, seal, and shake vigorously until emulsified. Transfer vinaigrette to a container with a pourable spout, ideally a squeeze bottle (if you own one), or a liquid measuring cup. Set aside.

  2. About 30 minutes before grilling, remove turbot from refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.

  3. Thoroughly pat turbot dry with paper towels, and season dark-skin-side assertively with salt. Place turbot in grilling basket (if using), and set over hot side of grill, dark-skin-side down. Cook until skin begins to blister slightly, about 4 minutes. Season white-skin side with salt, then flip fish over.

  4. Cook white-skin side until skin begins to blister slightly, about 4 minutes. While white-skin-side cooks, drizzle dark-skin side heavily with vinaigrette (using about 1/3 of it). Flip turbot back over, and cook dark-skin side until skin is well-blistered and flesh is opaque, about 4 minutes longer. While turbot cooks, drizzle white-skin side heavily with vinaigrette (again using about 1/3 of it). Remove turbot from grill and transfer to a large rimmed serving platter.

  5. Drizzle remaining vinaigrette over turbot. Carve turbot, reserving fins and head, and transfer fillets to serving plates; discard spine. Tilt serving platter towards you so that vinaigrette and juices from turbot pool at the bottom. Using a spoon, rapidly stir liquid as if whisking, until mixture thickens and emulsifies, 15 to 30 seconds. Spoon vinaigrette over fillets, and serve right away. For the adventurous, place serving platter in the center of the table, encouraging people to pick at the cheeks and meat from the head of the turbot, and to pick up the fins with their hands and eat the meat off the bone.


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