GC turbot in bag web

Turbot in a bag with parsley and cockle butter dressing

serves 6 as a main

This is probably the best way to cook turbot. A hot oven and plenty of butter brings out the best of its natural flavour and gives you the base for a fantastic dressing. You can use mussels, clams or any other shellfish in place of cockles, and vary the herbs if you like – try chervil, fennel or dill in place of parsley.


1 turbot, at least 2kg, cut into 6 tranches (you can learn how to do this in my book, British Seafood, page 242)
1kg live cockles, cleaned (again, if your not sure how to do this, look in British Seafood, page 173)
Olive oil for cooking
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
200g salted butter, in pieces
2 handfuls of chopped flat-leaf parsley
100ml white wine
The juice of 1 lemon
Cornish sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve (optional): braised lettuce (this goes really well with this dish, check it out on page 231 of  British Seafood)


Heat your oven to 220°C/gas 7. Take a baking tray large enough to hold the turbot tranches comfortably. Lay 6 large pieces of non-stick baking parchment side by side on a work surface and lightly oil them in the middle.

Place a turbot tranche in the centre of each piece of oiled parchment and sprinkle evenly with the shallots, garlic, butter and most of the chopped parsley. Season the fish with salt and pepper.

Draw up the edges of the paper and fold them together, leaving a little opening in the middle. Pour the white wine and lemon juice through each opening and then seal the parcels. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes, then take out the tray and carefully cut open the paper at the top.

Scatter the cockles over the fish and scrunch up the paper to re-seal. Place back in the oven for 2–3 minutes until the cockles open up; discard any unopened ones.

Carefully lift the turbot and cockles in the paper onto warmed plates. The cooking juices from the bags provide the dressing – just add a bit more chopped parsley if you wish. Serve with lemon wedges. Braised lettuce is a lovely accompaniment to this dish.


Nathan Outlaw’s British Seafood by Nathan Outlaw (Quadrille, £25) Photography © David Loftus


“For me, great seafood dishes are defined by their simplicity and respect for the seafood.”