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Food

Chef Thomas Keller’s Turbot Recipe: How to Sous Vide Fish

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: May 12, 2020 • 2 min read

“Turbot is a very highly prized fish.” - Chef Thomas Keller

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What Is Turbot?

Traditionally caught in northern seas, wild turbot is a highly prized flatfish with firm, white flesh and a delicate and mild flavor. It lends itself well to creamy French sauces, like this preparation of petits pois à la française, or peas and pearl onions cooked in a sauce suprême with bacon.

How to Substitute Fish When Cooking Sous Vide

If you cannot source turbot, substitutions include halibut, fluke, and sole (all varieties of the white fish). Most any fish is appropriate for cooking sous vide and served according to your personal tastes. It’s the thickness of the fish, not its length, that determines how long it will take to cook. Most fishmongers will be able to recommend an appropriate substitution based on their daily catch as well.

Sous Vide Fish Time and Temperature Guide

Chef Keller recommends selecting fish under 1½ inches thick for cooking fish sous vide. Also, cook fish sous vide from cold (i.e., do not temper the fish).

  • For sous vide salmon and other fatty fish. General cooking temperatures for most fish that are cooked to medium rare (e.g., fatty fish) range from 53 to 57°C, with an approximate cooking time of 12 to 15 minutes for every ½ inch of thickness.
  • For halibut, swordfish, seabass, and more. For more flaky fish or for fish fillets that need to be cooked more well done, cook at 61°C. It will take about 10 minutes for every ½ inch of thickness.

To truly determine whether the fish is cooked perfectly to your liking, it will require some experimentation on your part to find the right sous vide cooking time and temperature.

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Chef Thomas Keller’s Turbot Sous Vide Fish Recipe

Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
11 min
Cook Time
6 min

Ingredients

  • 1 portion turbot fillet, about 110 grams and ½ inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 sprig tarragon
  • 15 grams unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 sprigs chervil
  • Maldon sea salt

Equipment:

  • Plastic container for water bath
  • Immersion circulator
  • Ice
  • Single-use gloves
  • Vacuum sealer bag
  • Chamber vacuum sealer
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cooling rack set over a sheet pan
  • Small offset spatula
  1. Season both sides of the turbot with salt. Vacuum seal the turbot, tarragon (not touching the turbot), and butter in a vacuum sealer bag and place into the water bath when it reaches 57ºC. Cover the water bath container with aluminum foil for heat retention and minimizing evaporation.
  2. Cook the turbot for 6 minutes.
  3. Cut the vacuum sealer bag open and slide the turbot onto the cooling rack set over a sheet pan to drain. Use a small offset spatula to gently scrape the top and sides of the turbot fillet to remove any excess moisture.
  4. Serve atop a bed of petits pois à la française and glaze with warmed sauce suprême. Garnish with a few sprigs of chervil and a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt.

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