Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Midweek Food Musings: Block Island Flounder Fillets

Lemon, parsley, and red onion-topped flounder fillets 
Pepper and onion relish 

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Block Island (thank you Glenn and Norma!), which is a gorgeous place, off the coast of  Rhode Island. It’s hard not to fall in love with such lovely peaceful beach-encircled piece lush-green and rolling  land…especially when the weather totally cooperates. I did have the idea this weekend that I could spend a summer there, riding my bicycle, enjoying the gorgeous land—sun and surf—writing a lot, perfecting my Kadima (beach paddle game that my husband and I always play) and boogie boarding (totally non-existent as a current skill of mine) and playing with all the local food. Well, hmmm… maybe next summer!

For now, I’m going to share a recipe I prepared for my friends (and husband, who is yes, also my friend! Whew!) on Saturday night. To tell you the truth, flounder is not a fish I usually prepare, and honestly we were thinking of grilling. But this butter-flavored fish is way too delicate (unless you have the right toys for grilling it!) to place atop a grill, and honestly, this worked out beautifully.

The thing about fish—many types of fish is that they have a lot of flavor; you want to keep it simple—and light—and add flavors that complement (this, my friends, is true with everything!).  By the way, I made Prosecco with fresh pineapple chunks (from a different, more southern island!), fresh lime, and a splash of cranberry juice; this worked well with the fish (though some made the switch to New Castle Brown beer!).  We served this with a kind of relish made with a combination of red, yellow, and orange peppers, 2 jalapeños, and 2 red onions—all cooked in olive oil and a bit of white wine.

We also had an arugula salad with red grapes and fresh mozzarella pieces, topped with an excellent balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh-baked ciabatta bread. (By the way, great bakery goods on the island, though wow—the donuts were just out of this world! But that’s another story…)

Serves 6 to 8

Three pounds of flounder fillets (you can calculate about 6 ounces per person)
4 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
1/2 cup chopped flat-parsley leaves
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 lemons
White wine

Arrange the fillets in shallow ceramic or glass baking dishes large enough to hold them in one layer. Combine the garlic, olive oil,  1/4 cup of the parsley leaves, and the red onion and distribute over the fillets. Add salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate; let sit for at least 1/2 an hour (and up to 2).

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Squeeze two of the lemons (remove seeds) and pour the juice over the fish.  Slice the remaining lemon and add some to the top (you can save some for serving!) Add remaining parsley, and a splash of wine. Bake fish in middle of oven until just cooked through and no longer translucent, 10 to 12 minutes. Check for doneness. Serve warm. 


  1. I really like the pepper and onion relish. I'm going to try that and use it on fish and chicken. The photo looks delicious ! Thanks Arlen !

  2. Great! Thanks! Do let me know how it comes out! You can also kick in more spice--if you'd like--by adding more jalapeño.