“In the darkness of the shed, the white bellies of the turbots, strung up bow-fashion, shine like mother-of-pearl…”

-Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, 1851


Turbot is now eye wateringly expensive – I bought five fillets last week and it cost me nearly £70! It may be the king of fishes, but it also costs a king’s ransom. However, you can substitute John Dory, halibut or sole. And haddock steaks are also good.


Recipe for Fillet Of Turbot (or haddock steaks) With Asparagus

Serves 4


  • 4 x 175g/6 oz fillets of turbot
  • about 20 small, thin asparagus spears
  • 4 sundried tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 banana shallot, chopped
  • ½ cup/120ml fish stock
  • ½ cup/120ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp dry white vermouth – Noilly Prat
  • dill or fennel – something frothy – to garnish
  • 125g/4 oz/about half a packet of butter
  • smoked salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 500g/1¼ lb Jersey Royals


  1. Cook the asparagus in the packet in the microwave as per the instructions, or boil in salted water for five minutes. refresh under cold water, then keep warm.
  2. Cut the butter up into small cubes.
  3. Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan and add the chopped banana shallot.
  4. Add the fillets to the pan and fry for about a minute on each side.
  5. Add the vermouth and the stock.
  6. Cook for another two minutes each side – four minutes in total (halibut steaks may need a little longer).
  7. Take the fillets (or steaks) out of the pan and keep warm, continuing to reduce the liquid in the pan until it is syrupy.
  8. Add about three quarters of the cream and bring it to the boil. Then take it off the heat – BE CAREFUL AS IT TENDS TO SEPARATE – if it does add a little extra cream, or you can stabilise with a little dissolved cornflour.
  9. Whisk in the butter (I use the cappuccino whisk) slowly – in fact you probably won’t need all of it.
  10. On each plate put a fillet, surround artistically with asparagus.


 © 2014 Saucy Dressings