Gurnard and sea robin

Other Names: Grey gurnard: Benekli kirlangic (Turkish); borracho, cuco, perlón (Spanish); cabra morena, ruivo (Portuguese); carpone gorno, gallinella (Italian); crooner (Scotland); croonack, gowdie (Great Britain); crúdán (Irish); grauer-knurrhahn (German); grauwe poon (Dutch); grondin gris, trigle gris (French); hono-no-rui (Japanese); kaponi (Greek); knurr (Norwegian). American gurnard: Grondin carolin (French); rubio carolino (Spanish); sea robin. Red gurnard: Blauflossen-knurrhahn (German); carbra kumu (Portuguese); capone
(Italian); grondin, perlon (French); minamihôbô (Japanese). Piper: Capone lira (Italian); garneo (Spanish); grondin lyre (French); öksüz (Turkish). Tab
Bacamarte, cabra-cabaco (Portuguese); bejel, perlón (Spanish); capone, gallinella (Italian); grondin galinette, perlon (French); rød knurhane (Danish); rode poon (Dutch); seeschwalbe (German); selachi (Greek). Triglidae.

General Description: Gurnard are small fish commonly known as sea robins in the United States because of their large, winglike pectoral fins. These odd-looking fish, with scaly, huge heads, creep along the sea bottom. Gurnard produce audible grunts like snoring to keep in touch with each other, a skill noted in classic Greek times by Aristotle.

The piper (Trigla lyra_) is a large member of this family, with a red back, rosy-pink sides, and a silvery belly. They have firm white flesh that is free of small bones, though the flesh tends to dry out when cooked. Grey gurnard (Eutriglia gurnardus_) are popular filleted and fried in Holland. Large tub gurnard (T. lucerna_), or tub-fish, are the largest and one of the best tasting of these fish. They are popular in the Black Sea. Red gurnard (_Aspitrigla cuclus) are common in the waters of Great Britain and make for good eating. The
American gurnard (
Prinotus carolinus
), or sea robin, has delicately flavored, quite firm flesh.

Locale and Season: Gurnard are found in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the southern Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of Africa, Great Britain, and Japan.

Characteristics: Gurnard flesh is white, firm, and lean; the skin is edible. Their roe is also eaten. Yield is 35 percent.

How to Choose: Gurnard are bony with innocuous flavor and tend to be inexpensive. They are usually sold whole. Ask the fishmonger to remove the spiny fins and the skin. In France, gurnard may be substituted for the superior red mullet. Allow 1 pound per person.

Storage: Store gurnard fillets up to 1 day refrigerated.


For small fish, cut off the head, clean the tail section, and skin like monkfish. Cook the tail whole.

Bake, fry, poach, or use for fish stew.

Suggested Recipe: Gurnard with Turkish Almond Sauce (serves 4): Poach a whole (2-pound) gurnard in court bouillon
(white wine, lemon, thyme, bay leaf, coriander seed, shallots simmered with enough water to cover the fish). Cool and serve with Turkish Almond Sauce: Blend 1 cup blanched almonds with 1 slice crustless white bread, 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, and the juice of 1 lemon until thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Flavor Affinities: Almond, cilantro, chiles, garlic, lemon, mayonnaise, olive oil, onion, paprika, parsley, pine nut, potato, saffron, tomato, vinegar, white wine.

from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com