I knew I was going to be cooking fish. I was in the possession of some lovely fresh flounder fillets – what to do with them? I was in the mood for something very straight forward. First, I though about just cooking them in a little wine with a few scallions but that was a little too minimal for my hungry clan. I decided to stay in that same vein but adding a little more brawn to the meal. I ended up quickly defrosting some shrimp to give the dish more meatiness. I layered the flounder and shrimp with some vegetables and lots of white wine and some home-made chicken broth.
I used my most favorite casserole dish. It is heavy with a heavy lid so the resulting baked fish was packed with sealed in flavor. The pots and pans you use to cook your food are a crucial part of the cooking process. This particular pot was more responsible than me for how good everything tasted. The other great thing abvout this casserole dish is that my husband found it at the flea market along with a smaller version for a mere pittance of the real cost.
The only reason I have the best tools in my kitchen is because Dave is constantly on the look-out for cookware for me. When he calls to ask if I need another 9″ caphalon or all-clad pan I ALWAYS say yes! At this point I have enough pans to stock a restaurant kitchen. Not only do I get great kitchen equipment for next to nothing, it is also recycling in the true sense of the word, and, I am also not supporting companies who sell you absolute crap (strong word, but in this case very appropriate), invariably made by countries who pay their employees a pittance – all important stuff. Get out there and find yourself some better pots and pans – my store recommendations for your shopping? – Goodwill, Salvation Army, Oxfam, Flea Markets, Garage Sales or Car Boot sales!
You will need: 1 1/3 lbs flounder fillets, 1 lb shrimp, 2 inner celery ribs with lots of leaves, diced, 1 sweet onion, diced, 1 dry pt cherry tomatoes, 2 fresh bay leaves, 7 sprigs of thyme, leaves only, 1 cup white wine, 3/4 cup chicken broth, 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbs unsalted butter, coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning, 1/2 lb pappardelle pasta (I used bionaturae brand – excellent), 4 lemon slices.
Preheat oven 375*
1 – In dutch oven or heavy metal casserole (which has a lid) add the oil and butter under low/medium heat. When warm add the onion and celery and saute for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2 – While onions are cooking wash and dry flounder and peel and de-vein the shrimp.
3 – When onion mixture has cooked for 15 minutes remove from heat and with a big spoon remove half of the onions and celery to a plate. Spread the vegetables evenly over bottom of casserole along with half the tomatoes and 1 bay leaf. Layer half the fish on top. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add shrimp and the last half of flounder and season again.
4 – Spread the last of the vegetables, cherry tomatoes and bay leaf over the fish. Cover with white wine and broth. Cover and bake in oven for 25 minutes.
5 – While fish is cooking put big pot of water on to boil for pasta. When water is boiling add 1 tsp salt and cook pasta according to instructions.
To serve, put a portion of noodles in bottom of warmed shallow bowl and top with baked fish and lots of broth. Season with more salt and pepper according to taste. I also recommend a little sprinkle of chili flakes.