Turbot and white asparagus sous-vide with Hollandaise sauce

I saw reasonably priced very fresh turbot for sale and couldn’t resist. Even though asparagus are out of season and have to come from Peru, I decided to make a dish that I created last May for the Fish & Wine themed evenings since it is so delicious. Especially when served with a good white buttery Burgundy such as Chassagne-Montrachet 🙂 You can serve this as a ‘secondo’ after risotto or pasta or on its own if you add potatoes cooked sous-vide.


For 2 servings:

Fillets of a 900 grams (2 pounds) turbot, skin removed (in Holland: you can substitute tarbot with griet that has the same taste but is usually cheaper)

450 grams (1 pound) white asparagus

4 tbsp butter

4 lemon slices

salt and freshly ground white pepper

For the Hollandaise sauce:

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp lemon juice

75 grams (1/2 stick) butter

salt and freshly ground white pepper


Pre-heat the water bath to 84C/183F.

Cut about 1 cm (1/2 inch) off the end of each asparagus and peel them (don’t peel the tip). Dry them with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground white pepper.

Seal asparagus into a pouch with 2 tbsp of butter. The vacuum sealer will suck moisture out of the asparagus. To minimize this, put the asparagus in the pouch as shown and leave a longer ‘sleeve’.  Cook sous-vide for 45 minutes at 84C/183F. If you’d like to serve the dish with potatoes, you can cook the potatoes simultaneously sous-vide.

Wash turbot fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Seal in two separate pouches with a tablespoon of butter and a slice of lemon each.

When the asparagus are cooked, lower the temperature of the water bath to 50C/122F. You can do this quickly by adding cold water or ice cubes. You can leave the asparagus in to keep them warm.

Cook the fish sous-vide for 15 minutes at 49C/120F. By cooking at this temperature, the fish will be very juicy and tender and not dry or flaky at all. If the fish is not very fresh or you like your fish more flaky, try to cook at a higher temperature but not higher than 60C/140F.

While the fish is cooking, make the Hollandaise sauce. Hollandaise sauce is notorious because it curdles easily. This is the first time I’ve used Harold McGee’s ‘nearly fool-proof’ method, and it worked like a charm!

In a cold saucepan, add 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 egg yolk, 75 grams (1/2 stick) of cold butter in small pieces, salt and freshly ground white pepper. Now heat over low heat while stirring. The butter will melt. Keep stirring until the sauce has the desired thickness. This will take several minutes.

Since asparagus, fish and sauce will be served at a low temperature, I strongly advise to use preheated plates (heated in an oven around 100C/212F) for this dish.

Serve the asparagus with the fish on top, a generous amount of Hollandaise sauce and garnish with a slice of lemon.

Wine pairing

This dish goes extremely well with a good white burgundy such as Chassagne-Montrachet, or any other chardonnay that is somewhat buttery (to go with the hollandaise sauce), has a nice minerality (to go with the asparagus), has a nice acidity (to go with the lemon), and is sufficiently complex (to go with the fish).


12 thoughts on “Turbot and white asparagus sous-vide with Hollandaise sauce

  1. Hi Stefan,

    Since I got my sous vide machine for Christmas last year, I used your inspirational blog often. And as we share our love for the best ***restaurant in Zwolle (related to Jonnie?) I like to experiment a lot.
    I just bought some nice Turbot. I like to prepare it tonight sous vide as mentioned here, but I like to finish it with a certain bite. So I think of one of these: burn/flame it with a torch, short on a hot grill, short in a hot pan with or without butter or oil…?
    Just don’t know.
    Any suggestions?

    Very best regards,



    1. Hoi Frans,
      Thanks for visiting.
      To get an actual ‘bite’ on fish you need to serve it with the skin (as in my recipe for sous-vide sea bass with crispy skin, which you should definitely try as it is amazing https://stefangourmet.com/2014/10/22/sea-bass-with-triple-fennel/).
      However, serving turbot with skin is not a good idea because the skin has warts.
      What I would recommend, is to cook the turbot fillets sous-vide, dry them with paper towels, dust with flour, and then brown quickly in butter over very high heat. Preferably clarified butter (recipe on my blog) as otherwise the butter would burn easily. If the fillets are thin, I would recommend to brown only one side and serve it with the browned side on top. Otherwise you run the risk of overcooking the turbot (if you cook a thin fillet in butter on both sides, there is need to cook it sous-vide first).
      Good luck and let me know how it turned out!

      P.S. I’ve discussed the possibility of our being related with Jonnie, and we concluded that it is unlikely as my great-grandparents were from Zeeland whereas his were from Giethoorn.


      1. Hi Stefan,

        Just started preparing dinner, so just in time!
        I’ll will try both, two filets in butter, two with the torch.
        I just don’t know if I have to “paint” the fish with “something” before flaming it. A few years ago I did a 1-day(night) traineeship at the Librije. Very inspiring and I think I remember that they added some liquid to langoustines before they were shortly roasted with a torch.
        Maybe a sort of syrup?
        If you have a suggestion would be great.
        Anyhow, I’ll let you know how it ended.



        1. Hi Frans, a bit of oil could work. It has to be a liquid without water, otherwise it can’t be heated above 100 degrees and you won’t get Maillard. Something with sugar could also work, if the torch evaporates the water.


          1. Hi Stefan,

            OK, this is what I tried with the four filets I had.
            After sous vide 15 min/50C, I had two filets (with the white skin still on) into hot clarified butter for a minute. The skin still stayed flabby, so I quickly removed it and fried again for a short time. Tasted good, but not crunchy, what I aimed for.
            I was afraid the longer it would stay in the butter, it would get dry too fast.
            The other two I used the torch on. One I covered with a little Mirin and the other with agave syrup. This worked well on both. I liked the Mirin best, but was a little too sweet.
            Maybe next time add something else before to the Mirin to compensate the sugar.
            We just have keep experimenting…
            Thanks for your input!

            Best regards,



            1. Hi Frans,
              Thanks for letting me know how it turned out.
              The white skin on flatfish tends to stay flabby.
              If you really want crunchy turbot, your best bet is to use flour (without the skin) and very high heat. The only way to prevent overcooking the turbot is to use a really thick piece. A nice trick is to ‘glue’ the two fillets on top of each other with transglutaminase. I tried this with sole, and it worked very well. As you can see on the picture, I could have browned it even more without overcooking the fish. https://stefangourmet.com/2014/02/21/reconstructed-sole-a-la-meuniere/
              Interesting about the mirin and agave syrup.
              Best regards,


  2. I do like your way of making the Hollandaise. I’ll try it next time I make it. I have been successful following (Saint) Julia Child’s blender recipe because it is fool-proof. Thanks for the recipe and illustrations.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Stefan,

    In this recipe you cook the asparagus for 45 min. in 84 degr. sous vide.
    In your other recipes you do them 15 min. What’s the difference?
    Best regards,



    1. Sorry, I’m getting old 😉
      Should have read our previous discussion on this subject.
      Have a nice Sunday!


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