14 November 2012
Baked flounder with cherry tomatoes, onion, and lemon
I'm almost ready for launch! In the meantime: fish and tomato, oh my.
Last weekend--no, actually two weekends ago now--I went to the De Anza Flea Market at 5:50 am to help my friend Gus sell all her US appliances and other bits and bobs before she moves to Europe.
When you're at a flea market for eight hours, it turns out that you find some excellent things.
I now have a lovely handthrown pottery serving bowl. It was $2.
This picture doesn't really illustrate the size well. Okay. Behold again!
It's currently holding a good chunk of the season's last cherry tomatoes (which are finally winding down--I think the plants may come out in about a week) until I can eat them. And I can certainly think of a few ways to eat them.
How about throwing a bunch of them into a foil packet with a filet of flounder, some lemon slices, onions, and olive oil, then baking everything until awesome? That sounds pretty good to me.
You can make one big packet if you have a huge piece of fish for everyone, or make little individual packets if you have smaller filets. I was just cooking for me, so quantities listed are for one.
Baked flounder packets with cherry tomatoes, onion, and lemon
flounder (or other whitefish)
thyme, fresh if possible
red pepper flake
aluminum foil or parchment paper
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Get yourself a sheet of foil or parchment big enough to wrap up all your fish and veg. Put your piece of flounder in the middle. Rub it with olive oil and salt and pepper it on both sides. If you're using dried thyme, season the fish with it too. Add a couple shakes of red pepper flake if you like heat.
Wash your tomatoes and pile them around the fish. I used about ten or twelve. They'll shrink, so use more than you think you need.
Finely slice enough onion to cover your fish and tomatoes, and then do the same with a lemon. Layer all your slices into your packet. I used maybe five or six thin slices of both onion and lemon. Needless to say, this is an excellent use for that odd quarter of an onion or half a lemon hiding somewhere in your fridge.
Top with a couple branches of fresh thyme. Drizzle a final bit of olive oil over everything, and add a final dusting of spices.
Close the packet by bringing the top and bottom edges together in the middle and folding them over a couple times. Fold the left and right side. You should end up with a rectangular package with one long seam across the middle, and one on either side.
Put your packet in a baking pan and put it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish. If you have a particularly thin filet, you may find that it's done in a shorter time; if you have a massive filet, you may find that you need more time. When you think it might be done, unfold the packet and check for flakiness. You can always refold it and stick it back into the oven to cook some more.
When you're done, you'll open your packet to find a gout of steam and a lot of delicious tomato-lemon-olive oily juices. Clearly, this would be great over a plate of couscous or mashed potatoes, so you can soak everything up as efficiently as possible. I just ate mine by itself, and it was delicious nonetheless.
For future application, I'm going to keep a variation in mind: lemon, tomato, garlic, olives, and fresh oregano. Why not make my fish the Provençaliest of the Provençal? I might even add in a little bonus Pernod.