Rodaballo a la Gallega

Galician Turbot

The Galicians are the great fishermen of Spain, and the turbot is the king of the catch. Even if it is farmed, as is increasingly the case today, turbot is a great fish. But when it is wild, the flesh is firmer and its characteristic flavor is more intense. No matter how you cook it— seared, fried, baked, roasted whole— turbot tastes exquisite.

In this Galician recipe, the fish is not filleted, but rather cut crosswise through the central bone. In my opinion, the head contains the best parts of the fish and, if you sit among family members or friends, don’t be shy about nibbling on it.

  • Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 (4-pound) turbot with head and tail intact, cleaned and cut crosswise into 3 portions 
  • Coarse salt 
  • 3 cups water 
  • 1 cup dry white wine 
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into quarters 
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut in half crosswise 
  • 1 leek, including tender green tops, cut into 1-inch-thick slices 
  • 3 boiling potatoes, about 1 ½ pounds total weight, peeled and cut into quarters 
  • 3 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 5 black peppercorns 

Sauce 

  • 1 cup olive oil 
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into thin rings 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sweet pimentón  
  • Juice of ½ lemon 
  • Salt

Preparation

Season the turbot with coarse salt and set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the water and wine and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the onions, carrots, leek, potatoes, parsley, and peppercorns, decrease the heat to medium-low, and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Pour the contents of the pan through a fine-mesh sieve held over a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the fish pieces. Remove the potatoes from the sieve, place in a covered heatproof vessel, and place in a low oven to keep warm. Discard the rest of the vegetables in the sieve or set aside for another use.

Place the turbot pieces in the sauté pan and bring slowly to a boil over medium-low heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until the fish is opaque throughout when tested with a knife tip.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, in a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and bay leaf and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the onion is golden brown.

When the turbot is ready, cut each piece in half lengthwise and arrange on a warmed platter with the boiled potatoes; keep warm.

To finish the sauce, remove the sauté pan from the heat, add the pimentón and lemon juice, and mix well. Season with salt, stir again, and pour over the fish and potatoes. Serve immediately.

See also

Spanish Seafood recipes: The long coastline of Spain, combined with the two archipelagos, the Balearics and the Canaries, ensures that fresh fish and shellfish are ubiquitous elements of the Spanish table.

Galicia recipes: Its cuisine is one of the main tourist attractions of Galicia: the exquisite delicacies of this region are based on the high quality and variety of the local products used in the preparation of dishes. Country, farm and sea products are unique in their characteristics and quality. Furthermore, it cannot be forgotten that one of the main pillars of Galician cooking is the professionalism of its experts. Galician chefs are found world-wide.

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