Ok, I might have planned my vacation, so I would have plenty of time to fish. And I might even have planned to catch a turbot (my Moby Dick). As you might have guessed. Countless hours fishing resulted in zero turbot. So on the last day of the vacation I succumbed and went to the fish monger, bought two giant plaice and a kilo of mussels. I couldn’t get turbot, but I prepared the plaice the same way as I would with a turbot. Or sole. Or any other flat fish.
I prefer always cooking the fish on the bone, since it give more flavour and keeps the meat more moist. It it way easier to cook fish this way, since the margin on the fish is bigger. But again, try not to overcook the fish, because no one really likes to eat dry, overcooked fish.
The cooking time can vary a little. If ofcourse depends on the fish. The temperature and how think the fish is. Just keep an eye on it and it can’t really go wrong. If in doubt, try to press the fish a little. If it flakes easily, it’s done. Works every time. Or if there isn’t any skin on the fish, if you can see egg white substances leaking out of the fish, you are very close to overcooking the fish.
I decided to make a mussel beurre blanc as sauce. But you can basically just take all the liquids in the bottom of the pan, reduce it and whisk a whole lot of cold butter into it. For luxury reasons chop some herbs into it aswell. Use the same herbs as you used for the fish in the first place. I just used what I had. Some taragon, lemon thyme, chive and dill. The more the merrier.
And as the very last little comment. Be quite careful when cleaning the mussels. Mussels aren’t that expensive, so there is really no reason not to trash a mussel, if you are doubting the freshness just the slightest bit. Worst case it will bench you to the toilet for a couple of days. So ALWAYS discard the mussed that are open (and do not close, if you knock on them) and damaged, when cleaning them before they are cooked. And after they are cooked, if some doesn’t open, throw them.
- 2 large plaice (750g each incl head)
- 1kg mussels
- 3 shallots
- 1 carrot
- 3,5dl dry white wine
- 200g butter
- 3 lemons
- Herbs (loads of them. Oregano, dill, chive and tarragon)
- Salt and pepper
Remove the fins from the fish and rinse in cold water. Make a small cut across the back, along the spine. Place in a roasting pan.
Add two sliced lemons and shallots on top. Top with herbs, use the stalky parts. 1,5dl white wine. Place 75g butter on top. Flavour with salt and pepper. Place tinfoil on top.
Bake in the oven for 25 minuttes at 180 degress. Remember, the cooking time can vary depending on the size of the fish. Let it rest a couple of minuttes.
Dice one shallot and one carrot and saute in olive oil. Add a few herbsand 2dl white wine. When boiling hard, add the mussels. Let them steam under lid approx. 2 minuttes until they open. Remove the mussels and save for later. Strain the liquids and place back in the pot. Add the juice of one lemon and reduce a little. Add some of the liquids from the fish tray. Whisk in the rest of the butter. Season with salt, pepper, lemon cest and finely chopped herbs.
To finish of the dish. Add the steamed mussels to the tray with the fish. Discard closed mussels first. Top with a bit of sauce. Serve right away with new potatos, good bread or a salad.