One day when I was a kid, my father came home very late saying my stepmother was in hospital with food poisoning, because ‘she ate yoğurt and fish together’. That started my fascination with combining seafood and dairy.
It’s a common myth in Turkey that milk and fish don’t mix, but if it were true, there’d be nobody left alive in the west coast town of İzmir (formerly known as Smyrna and very close to Troy). All along the promenade there, restaurants compete to offer the best version of sütlü balık (literally ‘fish in milk’). Normally it’s done with fillets, but I always prefer to use whole fish if I can. I’ve included celeriac here, because it adds a great flavour to the milk.