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Spring dinner: Turbot and mackerel

Spring dinner: Turbot and mackerel
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  • Spring dinner: Turbot and mackerel

    Post #1 - May 26th, 2007, 5:13 pm
    Post #1 - May 26th, 2007, 5:13 pm Post #1 - May 26th, 2007, 5:13 pm
    Immediately after picking him up at the airport, I took my father by Stockholm's best market in order to find ingredients for our dinner. We ended up purchasing a gorgeous, 4 pound, wild turbot and one of the first Swedish-caught spring mackerels. Picked up some Gotlandish (Gotland being one of Sweden's Baltic islands) asparagus and some of this year's first new potatoes.

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    I filleted the perfectly fresh mackerel and seasoned the fillets with salt, peppar, lemon zest and dill.

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    After a few hours' cure, the fillets were hot-smoked with cherry and lump charcoal.

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    The hot fillets were then placed on a piece of hard rye bread and topped with soft-boiled egg slices, Swedish Västerbottens cheese (aged, cow milk cheese from Northern Sweden with a sharp, nutty flavor), chopped chives and dill, sour cream and salt/peppar. Along with a cold lager, these sandwiches made for an excellent appetizer.

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    The turbot was slowly baked in a 200 degree F oven for an hour and 20 minutes. The slow baking enhances the gelatinous nature that a wild turbot of this size has. Upon serving (with the boiled potatoes, the blanched asparagus, some new, spring cabbage sauted with pancetta and browned butter poured over freshly grated horseradish), I discovered that the turbot was bursting with roe. While I would never keep a fish I personally caught during its spawning season, the damage was already done for this one. And, despite my ethical concerns, I quickly discovered why turbot roe is considered a delicacy; tasting strongly (but pleasantly) of turbot but with a buttery and delicately grainy texture, it was extravagant.

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    In fact, with evening temperatures in the mid-60's, the dinner's wonderful ingredients and company, a glass of Chablis Premier Cru Montée de Tonnerre and the scent of lilacs and honeysuckle heavily in the air, the entire evening was extravagant on many, wonderful levels.
  • Post #2 - May 29th, 2007, 4:45 pm
    Post #2 - May 29th, 2007, 4:45 pm Post #2 - May 29th, 2007, 4:45 pm
    Great, great dinner with two of my favorite fishes!
    Turbot are alwasy sold fresh with the roe left in the body cavity so inspection and removal before cooking is a must. I then poach the roe in butter making sure to puncture the roe sack in a few places so it doesn't explode. I'll eat at your house anytime! -Dick
  • Post #3 - May 29th, 2007, 6:50 pm
    Post #3 - May 29th, 2007, 6:50 pm Post #3 - May 29th, 2007, 6:50 pm
    Gorgeous pics Bridgestone - thanks again for feeding my seafood obsession. I especially liked the shine in the eye of that mackerel.
  • Post #4 - May 29th, 2007, 7:15 pm
    Post #4 - May 29th, 2007, 7:15 pm Post #4 - May 29th, 2007, 7:15 pm
    Extravagant indeed, and yet so simple, too, the fish, the asparagus, the spuds, all that natural goodness, beautifully portrayed.

    My father is coming to Chicago next week, and I may try to duplicate that gorgeous-looking fish, egg, and dill/chive sour cream on hard rye -- breathtaking.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #5 - May 30th, 2007, 9:04 am
    Post #5 - May 30th, 2007, 9:04 am Post #5 - May 30th, 2007, 9:04 am
    Thanks everyone!

    David Hammond - a sprinkle of finely chopped onion made it on the top of those sandwiches after I took the photo and it was a good enough addition to make it worth mentioning if you plan on trying this yourself.

    As far as the roe goes, I think I got lucky that I did the "low and slow" bake with this fish in that aspect. It thankfully didn't come out dry and mealy (as I'm sure it would have with higher temps or longer baking). I appreciate the butter poaching suggestion and will certainly consider it if I end up with a roe-filled female again. Honestly though, with fish stocks what they are these days, I'm kind of hoping that I don't!

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