Posted by: ThePseudotarian | July 29, 2010

Gulp. (And Gulp!)

Well, my new and improving diet is about to get the family test. Well, not really about to. In maybe …  4 months? I called my aunt a few days ago and she brought up the event that looms over my family’s head every year.

Are you coming home for Thanksgiving?

Anyway, long story short, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I might not be eating the lauded family bird this year. So I mentioned it to my mom. Her response?

WHAT?!?!?

Yea. Turkey Day is going to be interesting for the newly minted Pseudotarian this year.

So, on to more seasonal topics. Like what I’m eating! I’m trying to post more main- and side-dish recipes that aren’t soup and pasta, I promise. And also, I totally went to Ocracoke and ate my weight in seafood, so I’m pretty sure I should share SOMETHING from that experience.

Enter: The Best Flounder I Have Ever Had.

Matt and his mom ordered this dish at the wonderful Cafe Atlantic on Ocracoke Island. And she was nice enough to buy us the Cafe Atlantic cookbook! One thing I love about this book … it has recipes regularly featured on the menu. And the recipes are straightforward and simple. Almost hard to believe when you take into account the complex flavors. Some of you will undoubtedly cringe at the mayonnaise. Do not fear too much. Plus, I’m going to try this with a vegan mayo (I like it much, much more than the non-vegan “regular” kind). I’ll let y’all know how it goes.

Parmesan Crusted Flounder

2 cups grated or shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup chopped green onions
4 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. hot sauce (I would advocate sriracha or garlic chili paste)

Flounder filets for four people

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Mix together all ingredients, which the except (duh) of the flounder. Spread the mixture evenly, but generously over the filets and bake until the fish flakes nicely. About 12 minutes per 3/4 inch.

Simple, right?

I’m hoping to complicate this a bit, but I wanted to share how straightforward this recipe was (and how easily you can make this at home) despite it’s rich, amazing flavor and silky texture. I’ll provide my ideas – which I’ll update you on as I try them – below.

The second part that made this dish so satisfying and comforting was that it was served on a bed of perfectly wilted spinach. Have I told you about my spinach obsession at all? I put it in EVERYTHING. Soups, pastas, salads, sandwiches, breakfasts … you name it! I freaking love spinach. Especially nicely wilted with a bit of garlic and a spray of acid – either lemon juice or vinegar.

Which brings me to my considered improvements. For clarity’s sake, I’m going to bullet here:

  • I wish this recipe had a touch more acid. Maybe a squeeze of lemon before the mixture is added?
  • I also want to try a different method of cooking. Maybe gently pan fry, deglaze with white wine, add the mixture and then broil until the top is just a bit brown.
  • I’d add some more Parmesan to the top after the mixture is applied, and then turn up the oven. My only complaint about this dish is that the texture is all silky smooth. A nice crunch or bit of variation might be perfection.
  • Because the dish is so rich, I’m going to try cutting that butter in half as well, purely for fat content and because I think with my palate that it would taste just fine.
  • Also, don’t forget to season this dish appropriately! Adequately salt and pepper  =)

Let me know how it goes, eh?

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