Monday, July 11, 2011

Dinner tonight: F is for Flounder. Too.

this came out just stupidly, ridiculously good.

Thaw 3 flounder filets (we got a pile of frozen fish at WalMart a couple of weeks ago, which has turned out to be a very good purchase.) Start that about 2 hours before you cook - the best way to thaw them is to seal the frozen filets in a ziploc bag and set them adrift in a bowl of cool/room temp water.

For this, you'll need 2 large frying pans and one medium saucepan.

Slice one small sweet onion and about half a pepper. (I had remnants of a red and an orange one.) Put your cast iron skillet on over high heat, give it a glug of olive oil, and sizzle the onion and pepper for about minute or two. Salt and pepper them. Then, in the interest of not having them get too brown, splash some water into the pan - not quite enough to cover everything - and keep the veg moving as it bubbles away.

Between stirs, put a saucepan of water on to boil, and put 2 dinner plates on the counter.

After the water in the onion pan has mostly evaporated, add a lot of chopped garlic - I used 4 cloves, and I could have stood another one or two. Lower the heat to medium high, keep pushing it around the pan.

Throw some orzo - probably 2/3 of a cup - into the boiling water in the saucepan.

Put your other frying pan over medium high heat, and let it sit. Cover one of the dinner plates with all-purpose flour and then sprinkle with Old Bay. Don't go crazy, you're not boiling crabs, but a little Old Bay is great with flounder.

Generously glug the latest frying pan with olive oil - more than a film, less than a quarter-inch - and when it's warm, dredge each filet in the flour and spices and start them frying.

Stir the onion pan; add some tomatoes (I used canned; you could use fresh. Either way, squish lots and lots of liquid out of them. It would also be great with sun-dried tomatoes, snipped small.) Turn the heat under that pan down to low. Add a tablespoon of capers. The stuff in the pan should be lumpy rather than soupy, but not all the way to dry.

Turn your fish once.

Test your orzo, and if it's done, turn off that burner.

Turn off the burner under the onion/tomato/pepper/caper mixture. Stir in a sliver of butter.

Remove your crusty, light brown fish to the other dinner plate that you put on the counter. (A heat-reisitant spatula us really good for this - a more rigid flipper could separate the crust.) Don't cover, it'll get soggy.

Peel an orange or a couple of clementines. Separate the sections, pull the pithy part out, and drop the sections into the tomato mixture. Stir, and let sit for a minute or two to let the orange warm up.

Plate each serving as a thrilling, messy pile.

I believe this will be even more amazing with more savory stuff in the veg - more capers, more garlic, a tiny pinch of red chili flakes, or a small amount of strong ripe olive.

But for a 20-minute, weeknight, just-got-home-from-the-pool dinner - dude, seriously.

It was hard for us to describe this without using the f-word. THAT is how good it was.

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