Whole Baked Flounder with Gremolata on Crushed New Season Potatoes
I love eating whole fish. The entire fish may seem confronting with its eyes, scales, guts and tail, but cooking the fish entire gives you a moist and tender result that it absolutely worth the extra work required. I have selected flounder for my recipe today as it is readily available, reasonably priced and a sustainable species here in NZ that is comparatively easy to prepare whole. It doesn’t need scaling, and as it is a flat fish, its skeletal structure makes it easy to eat off the bone.
Yellowbelly Flounder and Sand Flounder are readily available in NZ and you can either catch it yourself the inter-tidal waters of your local beach, or pick it up at the fishmonger or grocer. When you’re selecting fish, make sure that you’re buying fresh produce. You can tell fresh fish by its clear eyes, red gills, firm appearance, and ocean fresh smell. In fact - it just shouldn’t smell!
I believe that fish should be simply prepared in order to let the succulent and delicate characters of fish shine. There is no need for fussy over preparation or complication with fish recipes. Be sure to keep your flavours and seasoning subtle.
- 1 x whole flounder
- 4 x 400 – 450 500 gm new season potatoes (Agria, Ilam Hardy, Jersey Benne)
- 50 gm salted butter
- 2 lemons
- 2 large cloves NZ garlic
- 1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Maldon salt
- freshly ground pepper
Pre-heat your oven to 175°C.
To make your gremolata, finely chop flat leaf parsley and stalks. Finely zest and then juice the lemons. Crush 2 large cloves of garlic. Assemble the parsley, garlic, juice and zest in a small bowl, and season well with salt and pepper. Stir to mix then place it aside to dress your fish.
Brush your potatoes, and place them in salted cold water on the stove top. Boil gently for about 20 minutes until just done. Strain the water away and using a clean tea towel, gently crush the potatoes. Dress them with butter and Maldon salt.
While the potatoes are cooking, clean the flounder with a paper towel. You don’t need to de-scale, but check that the guts are removed. Sprinkle the fish with salt, place a slice of lemon in the intestinal cavity, drizzle the fish with extra virgin oil.
Place the fish in an oven proof roasting dish and bake for about 12 minutes. Slightly undercook your fish as it will continue cooking once you remove it from the oven. You want the flesh to be moist and juicy.
Plate your flounder on top of your crushed potatoes so the fish juices seep into the spuds. Check your seasoning of the gremolata and then pour some of this over the flounder. Wine match: 2012 Kumeu River Pinot Gris.