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Wulf's Kitchen: Pan-Roasted Whole Turbot with Lemon Brown Butter Caper Sauce

Max Harvey
Serves: 2
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty: Moderate

Our head fishmonger, Max Harvey is a big fan of turbot. He calls them the “King of the flatfish.” This Northeastern Atlantic native is popular throughout the Mediterranean, and it is a favorite among chefs.  


Preparing a whole fish like turbot may seem like a task, but Max demonstrates in this video how to skin the fish before cooking. His pro tip: pliers help pull the skin off easily. After you skin the fish, this dish comes together easily in one pan, including the lemon brown butter caper sauce. Make sure it is ovenproof and big enough to fit the whole fish. 


For the fish

  • 1 whole turbot
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Wulf’s garlic & herb spice blend, for rubbing on the fish

For the sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • 4 sprigs parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced, plus additional wedges for serving
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For serving

  • Extra parsley leaves
  • Lemon wedges


For the fish


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Have an oven-proof pan nearby that is large enough to fit the whole fish.


Prepare the turbot for cooking. To dress a whole turbot, first remove the head and reserve for making fish stock, if desired. Then, cut off the fins, trying to not remove any meat from the fish.


Start to peel the dark-sided skin back and get a good grip. Roll your hand back as it lifts from the fish. Max says this is easier if you have pliers. Repeat this process on the lighter side, if desired. You don’t have to skin the back, but it makes the fish easier to serve. Watch the tutorial with Max for more instructions on dressing a whole turbot.


Rub the fish all over with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with the garlic & herb spice blend.


Over moderate heat, add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan and lay fish presentation-side down first. The dark side is considered your presentation side. After 3-4 minutes, flip the fish over so that the dark side is showing and top with lemon slices.


Transfer your pan to the oven for about 5-8 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. There will be some give on the fish, and it will start to flake from the bones when it is done.


Gently remove the whole fish from the pan and set aside to rest while you make the sauce.

For the sauce:


To make the sauce, melt the butter in the same pan as the fish cooked.


When the butter is frothy, add the garlic, capers, and parsley and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.


Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.

For serving


To plate, transfer the whole fish to a serving platter. Spoon sauce over the top and sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper to taste.


To serve, use two forks to lift the top fillets off the bones and transfer to plates. Gently lift bones away from the bottom fillets and transfer those to the plates.


Drizzle fish with the sauce and juices remaining on the serving platter. Serve with extra parsley leaves and lemon wedges on the side.