Fish and Floating Islands

Having splashed out on some shiny new boning/skinning knives I was really keen to give them a try. I’ve also wanted to sample turbot, now that Sainsburys has started selling the farmed type from Spain. Having two great friends round for dinner was the perfect opportunity!

Turbot in Red Wine
This is a Gordon Ramsay recipe, and has apparently been a mainstay of his Hospital Road restaurant menu. Fish in red wine is a difficult combination, so using a ‘meaty’ fish like turbot and a soft fruity red like Beaujolais helps bridge the gap.

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Turbot is a large flat fish, so you attack it very like sole, due to the thicker skin you can’t just peel it off, it needs to be skinned like salmon.

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Once you’ve got the fillets, you gently poach them in a reduced red wine sauce and serve it with some rich mashed potato, wilted baby gem lettuce and whatever veg fits your mood.

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The taste is great – I could have reduced the sauce a tad more, and thicker fillets would help, but larger turbots get exponentially more expensive. With a smaller portion it would be a fantastic fish course and easily stand up to a beefy meat course.

Ile Flotante
A kind colleague gave me some of his home-grown eggs so I decided to do something egg based to show them off – thanks Kim! ‘Floating Islands’ are a classic French dessert consisting of poached meringues and thin ‘crime anglaise’ egg custard, drizzled with a caramel.

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The result is a light, delicate, faintly eggy dessert. It worked really well, despite me overfilling the pan while poaching and making the custard very thin. As part of a larger meal I’d go for much smaller portions and swap the caramel for a salted caramel sauce and – at the genius suggestion of another friend – freshly toasted almonds.

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