This meal could have represented the category, “seafood with less assertive flavors” that I wrote about at the beginning of the previous post., except that I managed to make flounder pretty assertive this time: Baked lemons and onions made it easy.
I was looking for a new suggestion for preparing flounder, and then Martha Stewart showed up. I had lemons, and I also had onions (although I soon realized not enough of one kind, so I assembled a mélange. I had also picked up some sorrel that afternoon, and I hoped to add it to the recipe, which I altered slightly in the process.
Much of the fun of cooking is visual, especially when there are colors involved; sometimes I get to share what things look like in process.
- one and a half Whole Foods Market organic lemons, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds and 11 ounces of 5 different kinds of onions, from various Greenmarket farmers, very thinly sliced arranged in an enameled cast iron baking dish, dotted with 2 or 3 tablespoons of Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ before two thirds of a cup of a white Grave and a quarter cup of fresh water was poured over the top [I might try slightly less liquid the next time], sprinkled with crushed thyme leaves from Willow Wisp Farm, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, baked in a 400º oven until the onions were soft and translucent (and a light pink in this instance, since some of the onions I used were red), for about 40 minutes, removed, six 3-ounce flounder fillets (17 ounces) from P.E. & D. D. Seafood Company arranged on the onion and lemon, seasoned with salt and pepper, some chopped sorrel from Lani’s Farm sprinkled on top, the fish basted with a brush dipped into the cooking liquids in the pan, placed in the oven and baked until the flounder was opaque and cooked through, or about 14 minutes, the fillets served on 2 plates with, or on top of the onion and lemon, scattered with a bit of fresh chopped sorrel, some stemmed pea sprouts placed to one side
- under a pound of red potatoes from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, scrubbed and boiled unpeeled, then quartered, tossed with sweet butter, salt, and pepper, garnished with red micro wasabi mustard from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- the wine was a Spanish (Catalonia) white, Celler Frisach, Garnacha Blanca ‘Terra Alta L’Abrunet’ 2017 from Flatiron Wines
- the music was a recording of The Los Angeles Philharmonic and The Industry co-production of Lou Harrison’s 1971 opera, ‘Young Caesar’, his depiction of Caesar’s love for another man, the production directed by Yuval Sharon; every composer should get the opportunity to create a magnum opus as perfect as this one
1. the strong flavors seem like overkill — the elements with which I cooked the fish were pretty lusty, but the recipe worked; I wouldn’t do this often, but I cook a lot of seafood, and I don’t think it always has to be lonely
2. it looks like a lot of food — but there wasn’t actually that much: the fillets were very thin, so they covered a large area; also while the roasted lemons could be eaten, a little goes a long way
3. and that’s pretty busy plate — which might have easily been avoided, but it’s difficult to make the right aesthetic decisions in the few seconds you have when you’re doing the plating (for instance, I wanted to include the pea shoots for the freshness they would lend to a dish weighted with more serious flavors, but even in the position I ended up choosing they made the plate look cluttered), with hindsight I can say I should have held back for a second serving some of what can be seen in the photograph