Baked Turbot, Padstow Crab and Sprouts, Roast Potatoes and Shellfish Gravy

  • Preparation Time70 mins
  • Cooking Time100 mins
  • Serves8
  • DifficultyHard

For the turbot:

1 x 3-4kg turbot, head and tail removed but reserved (ask your fishmonger to do this)
250g Cornish kelp
Sea salt
50g fresh thyme
50g fresh rosemary
Cornish cold pressed rapeseed oil

For the roast potatoes:

2kg Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes
100g beef dripping
Sea salt
20g mustard powder
20g turmeric
2 sprigs thyme
4 garlic cloves, crushed in its skin
2 sprigs rosemary

For the Padstow crab and sprouts:

1kg Brussels sprouts
500g fresh white crab meat
1 large banana shallot, peeled and diced
1 clove of garlic, finely grated
Pinch of picked thyme leaves
1 green chilli, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
100g sesame seeds, toasted
100g butter
1 lime, zest and juice
1 lemon, zest and juice
50g fresh basil, very roughly chopped
50g fresh coriander, very roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil

For the simple shellfish gravy:

250g crab shells
2 large banana shallots, peeled and sliced
1 small fennel, sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
15g thyme
15g rosemary
10 white peppercorns
20 fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
4 very ripe tomatoes, chopped
500ml vermouth, e.g. Noilly Pratt
1l brown chicken stock
Reserved turbot trimmings
50g butter
100g crème fraîche
1 lemon, juice only
Vegetable oil

For the turbot:

1. Preheat the oven to 165°C/Gas mark 3. Take a baking tray big enough to fit the turbot, and line the bottom with half of the kelp, thyme and rosemary. Drizzle all over with the oil. Season the bottom of the turbot with salt and place on top of the seaweed. Now season the top of the turbot and repeat the seaweed and herb process. Cover the tray in tin foil. Place in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes. Remove the fish from the oven and probe at the thickest end, near the head. When the fish is reading 45-50°C it's ready. Set aside to rest.

To make the potatoes:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Cut the potatoes into equal pieces so they cook evenly. Cover with cold salted water and bring to a gentle simmer. Once the potatoes start to break and are soft, drain in a colander, then leave to steam dry for 10 minutes. In the meantime, add the dripping to a roasting tin and place in the oven.

2. Add the potatoes to the hot fat, season with salt, turmeric and mustard powder, add the herbs and garlic. Gently fold the potatoes all over and return to the oven. Keep moving the potatoes every 15 minutes, basting them in the beef fat. Cook for 45 minutes, or until really crispy and golden.

For the Padstow crab and sprouts:

1. Rather than doing the usual sprout thing of crisscrossing the bottoms, peel the shells of the sprouts, one layer at a time, right done to the centres to give you lots of little sprout leaves. Take a largish frying pan, add 2 tbsp of the fat from the roast potatoes and a little of the butter. Once hot and foaming, add the shallot, garlic, thyme and chillies. Keep stirring and try not to allow the mix to colour.

2. Once the shallot is soft, turn the heat back up, add the sprout shells and cook for a seasoning. Take the crab in a bowl and add some lemon and lime juice to taste. Season with a little salt if needed. Spoon your sprouts into a serving bowl and then place the cold crab over the top finish with the chopped basil and coriander. Drizzle over some olive oil and a little lime and lemon zest.

For the simple shellfish gravy:

1. Gently break up your crab shells with a rolling pin (the easiest way to do this is in a large plastic bag). Place a casserole-style pan over a medium heat, add a little vegetable oil. Once hot, add the shallots, fennel and carrot and cook until nicely caramalised. Add the garlic, herbs and spices. Cook for another 2 minutes, then add the fresh tomatoes. Cook for a further few minutes, then add the vermouth, reduce until your base is lovely and thick.

2. Add the crab shells, turbot head and tail. Now add the stock and simmer for about 25 minutes. Taste for seasoning and pass through a sieve. Finish with some butter and the crème fraîche. Taste again and add a touch of lemon juice if needed. Serve up in the middle of the table and feast away.

Recipe courtesy of Paul Ainsworth

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