Turbot with celeriac purée, cabbage, autumn truffle, hazelnut & parmesan pesto, by Philip Howard

23 November 2012
Turbot with celeriac purée, cabbage, autumn truffle, hazelnut & parmesan pesto, by Philip Howard

Ingredients (Serves eight)
For the celeriac milk purée
250g celeriac
550ml full-fat milk
1 bay leaf
8g agar agar
For the truffle, hazelnut and Parmesan pesto
20g skinned hazelnuts
10g autumn truffle
20g Parmesan cheese
40ml extra virgin hazelnut oil
10ml grapeseed oil
For the truffle-baked celeriac
1 celeriac 8 drops of black truffle oil
1tbs grapeseed oil
6g autumn truffle
Other ingredients
1 Savoy cabbage
80g unsalted butter
250ml chicken stock
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
8 x 120g portions of turbot

Celeriac milk purée Peel the celeriac and grate it into a medium saucepan. Cover it with the milk, add a generous pinch of salt and the bay leaf and bring to the boil. Cook at a base simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, then take off the heat and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Pass through a colander, discard the celeriac and then pass the milk through a fine sieve. Transfer to a shallow dish.

Assemble a food smoker, add some smoking chips and set over a medium heat. Once smoking, turn the heat down, place the celeriac milk in the appropriate compartment and smoke for 5 minutes. If you do not have a smoker, place the smoking chips in a roasting tray, set it over a medium gas flame until they start smoking, stirring once or twice, then place in an oven preheated to 200ºC. Put the milk in a bowl above the smoking chips and leave for 5 minutes.

Remove the milk from either the smoker or oven and measure out 500ml. Transfer to a saucepan, add the agar agar and bring to the boil. Cook, whisking continuously, for 2 minutes, then pour into a shallow dish and set aside to cool. Once cool and fully set, transfer to a blender and blend to a smooth, velvety purée. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and transfer to a bowl. Cover and place in the fridge.

Truffle, hazelnut and Parmesan pesto
Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast in an oven preheated to 170ºC for 8-10 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven, cool, then transfer to a bowl. Using the end of a rolling pin, crush the hazelnuts finely.

Use a nailbrush to scrub the truffle gently under warm running water. Dry the truffle and grate it on a microplane into the hazelnuts. Grate the Parmesan into the bowl, season lightly with salt and a few twists of pepper, add the oils and stir to combine. Cover and set aside.

Truffle-baked celeriac
Cut the skin off the celeriac, then cut it in half. Cut each half in half again to give 4 large segments, like an orange. Now cut each into 3 segments. You will need 8 of these. With a vegetable peeler, peel away at the edges to yield elegant, rounded, segment-shaped pieces of celeriac. Place them in a large bowl.

Mix the 2 oils and add to the bowl, then stir until all the pieces are evenly coated. Using a truffle slicer or a microplane, slice or grate the truffle into the bowl. Add a generous pinch of salt and a twist of pepper, then stir to distribute the truffle evenly.

Lay a large sheet of foil on the work surface, then lay another piece on top. Tip the celeriac into the centre of the foil, bring one end over to meet the other and fold over the meeting ends to seal. Similarly fold over the sides to create a sealed pouch. Carefully transfer this pouch to a baking tray and bake in an oven preheated to 170ºC for 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven, open the pouch and check that the celeriac is tender by inserting a skewer or toothpick. There should be little resistance. When the celeriac is done, set aside at room temperature.

Other ingredients
Remove any dark green leaves from the cabbage and discard. Cut the cabbage in half and then into quarters. Cut out the core from the end piece. Methodically cut each end quarter into fine shreds. Transfer to a colander, wash thoroughly and leave to drain for 5 minutes.

Place a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and leave for 1 minute. Add half the butter, allow it to melt and then add the cabbage and a pinch of salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cabbage has softened. Add 100ml of the chicken stock, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the cabbage is just tender. Set aside at room temperature. To serve Place 2 large, heavy-based non-stick frying pans over a high heat and leave for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil to each. Season the skin side of the turbot with salt and place the turbot in the pan, skin-side down. Leave for 12 minutes, until it is golden brown underneath.

Divide the remaining butter between the 2 pans, turn the fish over, add 75ml chicken stock to each pan and transfer to an oven preheated to 150ºC. Cook for 3 minutes. Place the pouch of celeriac in the oven at this time too.

Remove the fish from the oven, coat each portion with a spoonful of the pesto and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Place the celeriac milk purée in a small pan and warm through over a gentle heat. Similarly heat up the cabbage.

Lay out 8 preheated large plates. Place a generous spoonful of the celeriac milk purée at the top of each plate and drag the spoon through it to smear it around half the plate. Unwrap the baked celeriac and transfer a piece to each plate. Place a flat bed of cabbage in the centre of the plate, sit a piece of turbot on top and spoon some of the buttery juices around the fish.

Recommended wine

This dish contains lots of flavours; for that reason I would chose a rich, weighty wine made from the Viognier grape. Either something from the northern Rhone appellation of Condrieu or a full-bodied oaked version from California.
Ronan Sayburn is head of wines at the Dorchester Collection UK

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