I was shopping for the Roast Turbot dish and was thinking how expensive it can be to cook with a non-negotiable shopping list in your hand. Normally I look around what looks good and check if there are any good deals. With a list there really isn’t any room to go for the sole instead of the turbot or tiger prawns instead of langoustines. You could of course consider the recipes as a template, and make your own version of a recipe, but I’d like to stay as true as possible to the book as possible, so I put aside all my own ideas.
What adds to this situation is the diversity of ingredients. The Roast Turbot requires lots of herbs, expensive fish and shellfish, all kinds of vegetables, and many more. In a restaurant it really isn’t a problem with the ability to stretch ingredients across dozens of plates. I cook at most 4 to 5 plates and sometimes less, and often have excess ingredients. An example of another dish is the liqourice for the salmon, of which I only used 1/10.
So my intention today was to make the most of everything I bought and think of stuff I could make before and maybe after completing the turbot dish. I didn’t have to think long and hard what I was going to make for dinner tonight with the most most fresh looking brill in front of me at the fishmonger today. This beauty was 7,5 €/kg, had firm flesh and smelled incredible fresh, not at all fishy. I also knew I had to make a stock for the Roast Turbot, so with the leftovers from the brill and the turbot, I could make a soup on a different day. But that’s future talk, on with the brill.
I filleted the fish, used transglutaminase to attach the meat and let it chill. After two hours the filets looked like they’d been together all their life. I stewed some vegetables, like fennel, carrots and celery in Pernod with aniseeds and saffron. In as separate bowl I cooked mussels until almost cooked, chilled them and added the mussel juice to the vegetables with some whipping cream. To cook the fish I seasoned them with salt and a Moroccan spice mix and then fried them in pan after which they went in the oven to cook further.
To plate I warmed the vegetables and the saffron, mussel, Pernod mix and added the mussels until warm. On top went the fish and some tahoon cress, used as a garnish in The Fat Duck recipe.
I would feel a bit funny writing down how it tasted, since I wasn’t replicating something, so I just say the fish was really good and I felt better using up some of the purchases. I hope to have the next recipe up in two days.