This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
This is the most highly esteemed of all flatfish, not only on account of its intrinsic excellence, but because of its favorable shape for the purposes of decoration. Famous as it is, and often appearing in American menus, it is not found in American waters any more than is the sole. It is very probable that in many esses where the bill of fare offers turbot the place is filled with plaice or large flounder or fluke for a substitute; but on the other hand the English turbot is unlike most fish in being the bettor for keeping a short time and the fish brought over by the mail steamers are still in excellent condition, so that genuine turbot is not out of the question when a rarity is desired.
A turbot, if kept two or three days, will eat much finer than a very fresh one; it being only necessary to sprinkle the fish with salt, and hang it by the tail in a cool place. Before putting it into the kettle make an incision in the back, rub it well with salt, and then with a cut lemon. If a turbot be boiled too fast it will be woolly." "You may serve up salmon with as much ornament as you will, but a turbot asks for nothing but aristocratic simplicity. On the day after he makes his first appearance it is quite another affair. It may then be disguised; and the best manner of effecting this is to dress him a la Bechamel." "The great French cook Cargme never sent any other sauce than melted butter to table with turbot." Notwithstanding the foregoing remark a "turbot a la Careme" is now a complicated dish of boiled turbot covered with a creamy stew of small shellfish. The turbot is epecially adapted to be cooked by boiling - simmering in court bouillon - but is also cooked in all other ways of any kind of fish.
Take a small and fat Dover turbot, and cut the four fillets obtained from the fish into scallops, well shaped and trimmed. Prepare a forcemeat of whiting, mixed with puree of fresh mushrooms, and spread this forcemeat over the fillets very smooth. A good mushroom sauce should be poured over them.
Simmered in court-bouillon till tender, dished the white side uppermost on a folded napkin or lace edged fish paper; the whole white surface sprinkled with lobster coral; decorated with stuffed olires and pickled cranberries.