Tag Archives: flounder

A Fantastic Fish Curry (serves 6)

This was so much better on the plate than I had imagined in my head (and that’s saying something considering my imagination!). We are still in the bowels of a monstrous heat wave and the challenge is to cook something great for dinner quicker than the time it takes me to get agitated from standing by a hot stove for too long!

This fish curry is so good even people who claim to hate fish can be won over!

This fish curry is so good even people who claim to hate fish can be won over!

When I went to the supermarket yesterday with my daughter we talked about what would cook speedily? I told her not to think of a dish but to think of a main ingredient that would cook quickly – “FISH”, she shouted when she was suddenly hit with the idea, causing the woman with the trolley beside us to glare at her for startling her – oops!

good things in little packages

The smaller the fish, the quicker it cooks (this was for my little fish fry in Italy – Press here to see the recipe

I thought that a powerful idea but was a bit worried about the selection at a shop I don’t usually buy fish from. The man behind the fish counter was about 16 and was no aspiring fish monger, so I was left up to my own intuition. The best thing to do when you cannot glean any information about which fish came in when is to smell it and give it a little poke with your finger.

fish

Fish needs to be smelled and touched to see if it is fresh

After a couple of whiffs and a little prodding at the flesh I decided that the flounder was the best fish for the job, and being nice and thin, it would also cook quickly. It was also a bonus that it was on sale so I was able to buy a couple of pounds without breaking the bank.

I fried catfish to go with my curry (instead of flounder)

I fried catfish to go with my curry (instead of flounder)

I didn’t want to fry it as that would mean I would also need to use a pot for a green and another for a starch and that was two too many pots for me to take on last night. I decided to cook curry because it would add lots of flavor to the mild fish and also because it’s what people eat in boiling hot countries like India. The theory is that spicy foods cool you down and just over a billion people can’t  be wrong.

Yellow squash from the Farmer's market and basil from my garden (my garden is my flavor life saver!)

Yellow squash from the Farmer’s market and basil from my garden (my garden is my flavor life saver!)

I did not know what veggies I had on hand but decided to use whatever I found in the fridge when I got home. I had yellow squash and some lovely kale and so this lovely curry was invented last night. It was truly fantastic and not a scrape was left today for lunch!

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*YES, I made this a Blood Type A Diet Recipe for me by using catfish instead of flounder and making the curry sauce with no dairy whatsoever. I know we have to eliminate or stick to certain spices but my compromise was to not add too much curry sauce to my dish and to cook my fish separately – A little compromising is how I am generally able to stick to the guideline*

You will need:

2 lbs mild tasting fish fillets (flounder, haddock, cod, white fish, catfish)

3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

2 yellow squash, thickly sliced (3/4 inch)

3 cups baby kale or chopped kale (or spinach)

3/4 cup matchstick or Julienne carrots

2 tbs all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tbls curry powder (good quality, mild to medium heat)

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp finely chopped fresh marjoram leaves

4 basil leaves, finely chopped (optional or only if you have them)

3 to 4 cups chicken or veggie stock OR water and good quality bouillon cube

basmati rice for 6 (cook according to directions on package or in rice cooker)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

In a small bowl combine the flour, curry powder, turmeric, chopped marjoram and 1 tsp sea-salt.

1 – Put large saute pan on medium heat and add oil. Add the diced onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the carrots and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.

add carrots

Saute onions, add carrots

2 – Add the spice mix to the pan and stir everything together (it will be a bit dry). If you are using a bouillon cube you should add it now.

Add spices mix and flour

Add spices mix and flour

3 – Add 1 cup of broth (or water) and use a manual whisk to stir it until you have a smooth paste with no lumps. Add 2 more cups of liquid and turn heat up slightly. Stir frequently until the sauce gets hot and begins to thicken (about 5 minutes)

make curry sauce

Make curry sauce

4 – Add the squash and bring the sauce to a simmer. Turn heat down, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Add squash

Add squash

5 – Add the fish in an even layer (there will be some overlapping) and shake pan. this action will allow sauce to cover the fish. Turn heat up again and bring back to a simmer (you will see little bubbles on the surface of the sauce).

Add fish

Add fish

6 – When it is bubbling slightly add the baby or chopped kale (or spinach). Cover pan and cook on a low simmer until the fish is cooked through (anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish you use). Check fish and taste sauce for additionally seasoning. Scatter the basil leaves on top before serving.

then kale

Then kale

Let the curry rest for 5 or so minutes before serving with basmati rice.

Catfish Curry (for Blood Type A Diet Followers)

Catfish Curry (for Blood Type A Diet Followers) Because I did not want my fish to cook with the flounder, I fried it in a separate pan with a little oil and some seasonings

A few Days At The Beach AND A Quick Way to Feed People with Minimum Effort: Foiled Fish For Four (or more!)

Evening at Cape May Point

Evening at Cape May Point

It is beach time again and I thought that would mean lounging around reading, swimming and writing long meandering posts of my observations and what I have been cooking. Well, that’s not exactly how it has been working out!

Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic Ocean

My friend Kelley and I are have been abandoned by our spouses this year to fend for ourselves. What I can I say…the week at the beach was booked for a year, circumstances changed and Kelley and I were the only ones free this particular week, (Dave managed two days before leaving). How could we disappoint our children who had been dreaming about this moment for what seemed like an eternity when you use “kid logic” (they live in different countries!)

Calder

Calder

Who knew it would be so much more difficult to do this with only two adults. This year I am chief cook and bottle washer while Kelley is errand boy and wrangler of all things beach-related.

Ide

Ide

This left very little time for that novel I was looking forward to reading and writing down what I have been up to.

Marie-Lyse

Marie-Lyse

We have also had a few misadventures, like the first day when we were not thinking sensibly and dragged everyone to the beach at high noon, resulting in burning my poor fair-skinned son to a crisp!

Cape May Light House

Cape May Light House

Then there was the day we were determined to stay on the beach even though the wind was whipping sand in our faces and our big umbrella was threatening to uproot itself and sail away down the beach.

Looking for nice rocks on sunset Beach

Looking for nice rocks on Sunset Beach

Or the other evening when we felt so bad because the kids couldn’t swim all of that day because of the sudden appearance of hundreds of jellyfish keeping them out of the water, and then letting them swim in their clothes when we went for a walk on the beach in the evening. This left me with a pile of sand-ridden clothes and towels to wash: never again!

Fried!

Fried!

Yesterday we thought we had finally gotten things right: leaving for the beach in the later cooler afternoon, buying my son something to cover his entire body to guard against another case of sunburn, and getting food ready before we left to quickly throw on the grill for dinner upon our return.

Jelly Fish Farming

Jelly Fish Farming

However, when we got to the beach the jellyfish had decided to stick around and I’m afraid digging holes in the sand did not appeal to my teenage boy so he went back to the house to mope and the girls decided the only thing to do was remove the jellyfish from the water, one shovel load at a time.

Must be mating season

Must be mating season

They had done this the day before and now they were getting profession. They dug a wide pond-like hole several feet from the water and filled it with water with their trusty orange beach bucket. Then, for the next couple of hours they filled their pond with jellyfish until it looked like a pink pulsating planet.

No swimming today

No swimming today

It didn’t rid the ocean of these stinging creatures but it did mange to keep them busy for hours and even managed to amuse anyone who walked by who were also more than a little put out by not being able to enjoy the water.

What life guards do after 5pm

What Life Guards do after 5pm

By about 7pm, Kelley and I, who had enough of the beach for the day, asked if they were ready to leave? They kept asking us to wait just in case there was a chance that the jellyfish would magically decide to go our to sea leaving them to swim at least once that day.

Lots of fishing but as Dave said "I've never seen anyone catch anything!"

Lots of fishing but as Dave said “I’ve never seen anyone catch a fish!”

We would have held out only it looked like it was going to storm and we didn’t want to get struck by lightning!

Kelly grilled Scallops

Kelley grilled Scallops

When we got back our barbecue plan was foiled by the rolling thunder so we had to cook our lovely marinated chicken in the oven. It was good but would have tasted so much better eating it from the grill outside on the porch.

and shrimp (so we did get lucky with the grilling one night!)

and shrimp (so we did get lucky with the grilling one night!)

Okay, so we have two beach days left and this morning I said to Kelley, “how about ousting the kids out of bed early, taking them to the beach before the jellyfish invasion, no long preparations, no snacks, just towels and sunscreen?”

He popped out of his chair and said “ready in five!”

on the beach

on the beach

They were installed in our usual spot by 10am and Kelley took the first shift while I escaped to be alone for the first time in 5 days!

A text from Kelley sent the news that the waves were perfect, there was a cool breeze and the kids had not left the water since their arrival.

uh

Another look

I have not seen sight nor hair of anyone in two hours.We may have finally got it right!

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Foiled Fish Recipe

This is a great way to feed plenty of hungry beach goers and allows you to spend them with them rather than tied to the kitchen!

All it requires you to do is wrap fish in some foil with some great flavorings in the morning, letting everything marinate, and then throwing the foiled packs into the oven for 15 minutes to cook!

Foiled Fish

Foiled Fish

You will need:

4 pieces of firm white fish or more for more people (tilapia, flounder, haddock, cod, fillet trout, monk fish etc)

1/4 cup extra virgin oil

1/2 cup white wine

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp sea salt

several grinds black pepper

8 sprigs thyme

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Wash and dry fish.

2 – Tear off 4 large pieces of heavy-duty foil and double it. Lay fish is center. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

3 – Mix oil, wine, and lemon juice together and spoon over the fish carefully. Add 2 sprigs of thyme to each fish and fold packet neatly but not too tight. (This can be done hours or up to 15 minutes ahead of time)

Place in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove and check to make sure the fish is cooked through, and serve with all of its lovely juices.

You can serve this as is or with some sautéed spinach and rice, some pasta or a salad.

More of this tomorrow

More of this tomorrow

Peppers, Fish, Rice. (serves 6)

AWASH IN PEPPERS!

I wanted to cook it all!

This dinner was certainly made out of necessity; in other words, it was necessary to use up at least some of this mountain of peppers. When the crop is ready, it comes in buckets. That was not a problem since we all love peppers in this house, so the more the merrier.

I asked my friend Lori what I should call this after we were done eating, to which she replied, "Peppers, Fish, Rice!"

Roasting deepened the flavor and reduced their size so everyone could consume more. I know I could have roasted the lot and then jarred them in oil, but I can do that with the next wave!

This was a very colorful banquet and the fresh taste of the right-from-the-garden peppers was sensational. Can’t wait for the next flood!

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You will need: tons of pepper; some or all of the following: red pepper, green pepper, yellow pepper, purple pepper, hot peppers, long sweet peppers, long green peppers, etc. 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes (red or yellow or orange), 3 or 4 very small red onions, quartered, 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 4 sprigs fresh thyme, 1/2 cup white wine, 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups chicken broth), 6 big pieces flounder fillets, 8 cups cooked basmati rice (2 1/2 cups raw for stove top method & 3 cups using rice cooker measure for rice-cooker measure)

Preheat oven 425*

1 – Cook rice according to instructions and keep warm.

2 – Cut big peppers into quarters and take out seeds. Leave smaller peppers whole. Put all peppers and onion quarters on a big baking tray and spread evenly. Add the oil and coat everything using your hands. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in preheated oven. Time for 15 minutes. Take out and turn peppers and place back into the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove the onions and set aside separately. Put the peppers in a big heavy brown bag and seal. After about 10 to 14 minutes, remove them and peel off any tough skin. Set peppers aside until ready to add to rice.

roast the peppers & onions

3 – Take same tray and add the tomatoes. Coat with oil and salt and place in oven for 10 minutes. Remove to a bowl when cooked.

roast cherry tomatoes (and hot peppers if you choose to use them)

4 – Put big saute pan on medium heat, add a tablespoon or two of extra-virgin olive oil and the finely chopped garlic. Cook for 1 minute, before adding the reserved roasted onions, thyme sprigs and wine. Turn heat up and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and continue to simmer for another 2 minutes.

make sauce

5 – Lay the fish on top. When liquid comes back to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. Remove the fish to a plate and keep warm.

cook fish in sauce

6 – Add the peppers to the liquid, followed by the rice. stir everything together.

add roasted peppers

Serve everyone some rice and a piece of fish. Top with a portion of the roasted tomatoes.

add rice

Baby Eggplant, Zucchini & Flounder Casserole (serves 6)

Another great dinner turned out from the Crappy Kitchen! Nowadays, my dinner planning is more than half done for me each evening as I  am up to my eyes in wonderful seasonal produce. All I had to buy last night was the fish (and a can of plum tomatoes, as the tomatoes are not quiet ready where I live yet). Everything else was pulled out of the dirt at my house, or from someone elses close by. My friend Lisa had given me a boat load of zucchini and squash and my CSA box (see top right of my blog for more info>) came through with 5 amazing looking baby eggplants.

Baby eggplant from Good Work Farm

I love eggplant but I didn’t want to make the more obvious dish using parmesan cheese. I love this cheese and mostly put it on my food after it has cooked. Besides the fact that my kids have not completely warmed up to the strong taste, I like the grainy texture when it is just grated or sliced directly onto food in it’s raw state.

Baby Eggplant, Zucchini & Flounder Casserole ( I did not feel the need for any kind of starch with my dinner)

This meal just came together as I went through the motions of cooking. First I decided to fry the eggplant. Then I though about laying it with the fish in some way? With a bunch of zucchini and squash begging to be used I felt compelled to fry them too! At that point it looked like I had the makings of something that should be stacked and cooked in the oven. I quickly made a red sauce using tons of fresh sweet basil from my garden, and dinner appeared out of nowhere. Three cheers for Summer and the bounty it brings with it!

I urge everyone who cooks to seek out the best fruits and vegetables you can find (and meat if you can afford it). It makes such a difference to the taste of your food

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You will need: 1/4 cup + 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2 lbs flounder, rinsed & dried, 5 baby eggplants, halved lengthways, 1 zucchini, cut into about four pieces lengthways, 1 yellow squash, cut into about 4 pieces lengthways, 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, 1 bunch of basil leaves, left whole, 1 28 oz can plum tomatoes with juices, (I use San Marzano), thickly sliced, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes, coarse sea salt, freshly ground black pepper.

WOW - all locally grown food (my garden, my friend Lisa's garden, Rambler Farm, Good Work Farm.

Preheat oven 375*

1 – Put the sliced eggplant on a plate and sprinkle with salt. Tilt the plate and let it sit for about 45 minutes to drain. Rinse and pat dry before frying.

2 – While eggplant is doing it’s thing, prep the rest of the ingredients and make the sauce.

salt eggplant to remove any bitter juices

3 – Put 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil in pan on medium heat. When it is hot add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes, basil and 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt, along with several grinds of pepper. Bring to a good simmer. Let the sauce bubble gently for 5 or so minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.

The simplest and quickest red sauce ever!

4 – Put big saute pan on medium heat and let it get hot before adding the 1/4 cup of oil. When it is hot, add the rinsed and dried eggplant flesh side down to pan in single layer (if your pan is not big enough, you may have to do two batches). Let it fry for until it browns (about 3 or 4 minutes) before turning and frying on the other side for the same amount of time. Remove and layer on the bottom of a 13″x 9″ casserole dish (1 layer, not overlapping).

Fry Eggplant

5 – Next fry the zucchini and squash until starting to brown (in same oil). Transfer to plate until ready to assemble.

Fry Zucchini & squash

6 – Assemble your dish: On top of the eggplant lay half of the fish, with as little overlapping as possible. Top fish with half of the sauce, followed by all of the zucchini and squash slices. Top with the rest of the fish and top with the last of the sauce. Cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes.

Assemble and bake.

There are lots of serving options. It is great just as is, or with pasta, toasted crusty bread, rice or a salad. A sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano wouldn’t go astray either!

Baked Fish with Pappardelle (serves 4)

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!

The Pot in Question (Nacco - Denmark)

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.

Saute onion & celery for 15 minutes..

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.

layer vegetables, flounder, shrimp, flounder & vegetables..

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.

brothy goodness..

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.

serve in warmed bowl with lemon..