Turbot is a sea fish belonging to the family of the Pleuronettidae, that is the family of flat fishes, which have both eyes on one side only. It has a rhomboid shape, blackish skin on the ocular side and whitish on the blind side.
The most common species are characterized by a body covered with small, adherent scales and a maximum length of 75 cm, while another kind has its skin covered by a series of tubercles on the ocular side, white firm and delicate flesh; this is the most precious and valued type for its tasty and delicate meat.
Winter is the ideal season to buy turbot, a fish found throughout the Mediterranean. The high commercial demand can not be satisfied by the scarce availability in Italian seas, therefore turbot (mainly refrigerated) arrives on the market directly from both Mediterranean and Atlantic countries. In fact, over 90% of the turbot consumed in Italy comes from farms located in Spain, France and Scotland. The bred turbots are recognizable by their small size (just over 500 g), their different colors and a small cut in correspondence with the ventral cavity from which the digestive system is removed in order to improve the conservation of the fish. The quality of this product is good, particularly if it is fresh. The few turbots fished in the Italian seas are contended by restaurateurs, thus they are often sold at higher prices.
Turbot can be found on the market both fresh or frozen, whole or in fillets. It should be cooked briefly otherwise the meat flakes. If whole, it can be boiled or grilled, while in fillets, it is excellent sautéed, floured, browned and steamed.