Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Turbot Fillet With Cannellini Beans
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert
In this recipe you may use dry porcini mushroom, mainly because fresh porcini are now out of season. The advantage of the dried type is that is much stronger in flavor, so you can use less. Speed things up by using canned cannellini beans, with very low sodium which you can mostly remove by rinse them in cold water and add to the dish.
12 ounces cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 fresh turbot fillets (you can substitute sole or flounder)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 large fresh porcini mushrooms, cleaned (or 4 ounces dry porcini, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and drained).
6 ounces string beans, blanched and cut in half lengthwise
Juice of ½ lemons
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped, plus extra whole leaves for garnish
1 tablespoon chervil, chopped, plus extra whole leaves for garnish
Drain the beans, and place them in a pot. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 45 minutes. When the beans are done, drain them, and reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Set the beans aside, and keep warm. In a large skillet, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Adjust the flavors of the turbot with salt and pepper, and place them in the skillet. Saute until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over, and cook another 3 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms in half. In another skillet over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the mushrooms, and saute until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Adjust the flavors with salt and pepper, and add the string beans and the cannellini beans and the reserved cooking liquid. Simmer for 2 minutes, and then stir in the lemon juice and the chopped herbs.
Spoon the bean mixture on the center of 4 plates, and lay the turbot fillets on top. Garnish with whole herbs and serve hot.
The turbot, Scophthalmidae Psetta maxima is a flatfish native to the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean, Baltic and Black Seas. They are valued as a food delicacy, and are hunted in large quantities in Coastal waters. Recent farms have been created around the globe to raise turbot for commercial marketing.
Info on Turbot
Turbot are flatfish, having an asymmetric but mostly round and thin body that blends in well with the ocean floor. They are often referred to as “left-sided,” as their eyes are on the left side of their head. Most purchasable Turbot weigh only a few pounds but specimens can reach up to 50 lbs (22 kg.). They have a speckled appearance to help them camouflage, and do not have scales.
The flesh of the flatfish is a bright white color, which does not usually darken with cooking. They are prized for their delicate flavor, and are common in European cuisine. Since 1970, turbot have been farmed along coastal waters, both near their native habitats and in foreign countries such as Chile and China.
In the 1990s, a dispute over fishing practices lead to an incident known as the Turbot War. After cod fishing was banned due to severely depleted stocks, nations began fishing heavily for the plentiful flatfish, which exist in massive numbers in Canadian waters. Canada’s government quickly became furious that its territorial waters were being used by illegal vessels that often employed fishing equipment that did not meet Canadian standards.
Turbot are found in many cuisines, with common recipes involving boiling, poaching or frying the fish to bring out its delicate flavor. If you wish to try eating this fish, be sure to find out the method in which the fish are caught. Supporting industries that uphold sustainable fishing practices is an excellent way to enjoy the foods you like while ensuring that no damage is done to the ecosystem or environment.
Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog
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