Went to the Fish Market and found a beautiful "arrivage" of turbot, one of my favourite fish and quite rare to find in Sydney, as it is a cold water fish and is usually imported from New Zealand.
The young Indonesian lady who served me pointed me first towards the Yellowbelly flounder, but I had no intention to settle for this cheap cousin of the Dover sole and even more so with a load of beautiful turbots next to them.
But this young lady was not your ordinary sales attendant, just there to earn a wage and improve her cash position while attending Uni.
She actually asked me why it was better and how you should cook it.
So while some of her colleagues back of house was filleting my turbot, we engaged in a short and concise cooking lesson. So this post is for her.
Although I didn't prepared a "beurre blanc" (literally "white butter") today - I just poached the fish and added a drop of Lebanese virgin olive oil after removing the skin - I thought I would show you some of the steps I took to cook this beautiful fish and my usual side of braised fennel.
And I will add two videos found on YouTube, one in French, one in American, illustrating two different methods to prepare a "beurre blanc".
First thing first, you need to prepare a "court-bouillon' - literally a "short boil":
Take an oven dish, fill it halfway with hot water, add bay leaves (laurel), pepper corns, cloves, and some sea salt
and put it on the stove and bring to the boil.
Throw some of the leaves in the cout-bouillon and keep some in the pan with the vegetables.
Get a saucepan with a thick bottom, pour a little extra virgin olive oil, bring to sizzle, add the onions and peppers first and cook for five minutes. Add the fennel, season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat and cover
So here is the French video on how to prepare a "beurre blanc"
I would use some from "Echire" (available in Sydney at Harris Farm, midly salted, so don't add any more salt...)
or you can use the unsalted Lurpak from Denmark, available both at Coles and Harris Farm.
You need some rich butter to get the "fluffiness" right. The butter needs to be at room temperature.
Now. let's have a look at the American version. I let you watch and then, I will make some comments...
Besides, adding cream changes the taste and makes it less refined, espacially if you have access to real butter!
The advantage is that your sauce will be still warm enough when you serve.
The french version needs to be rehated on a "bain-marie" until you are ready to serve.
Now, let's see what we do next with the turbot:
Remove the heat from the cout-bouillon, wait for the boil to stop and then immerse the turbot fillets gently in the court-bouillon. depending on the thickness of the fillets you may need up to 10mns to cook them through.