BAKED FLOUNDER WITH TOMATOES, BASIL AND ARUGULA
We are all creatures of habit, and it's easy to fall into familiar patterns when choosing fishing partners. Maybe you choose to fish with your best friend simply because he's your best friend, or maybe it's based around who has the best spots, the fastest boat, or the day off work.
We all have our reasons for picking our fishing partners and they're all relevant, but once in a while it's nice to buck the familiar and think about someone who might really appreciate the invite to go fishing but who may not have the means to make it happen on their own. This could be a co-worker new to the area, or someone a bit older who has a tight fixed income. I'm sure we can all think of someone who would just love to get out on the water.
For me, this person is my mom. She often took me fishing when I was little, and I've never forgotten.
I enjoy spending time with my friends fishing, but I also enjoy taking my mom out for a good fishing trip. Flounder are one of our favorite species to target, because they're fun to catch and extremely tasty on the table. I've had some of the best luck on the trips where I invite my mom along. Even if we don't bale the fish, it's always a good time on the water.
Inshore/nearshore fish like flounder offer the perfect way to get someone back into fishing. It's not overly complicated and doesn't require sophisticated equipment or long runs to reach fishing grounds. Plus, flounder of different types can be found all over the world.
The next time you plan a fishing trip, just think about it for a minute and see if there is someone you can take who would really appreciate the invite. The fishing gods may just smile down on you with slimy generosity.
I think most people would agree that the best part of catching a flounder is getting to bring it home and enjoy it for dinner. This is one of my favorite flounder recipes; it's savory, simple and healthy.
- 1 medium onion, sliced
1 pound tomatoes, chopped (plum or roma work well)
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
1 bunch of Arugula (optional)
4, 6 ounce flounder fillets
Salt and pepper
Additional olive oil to cook onions and to coat fish
Baked Flounder with Tomatoes, Basil and Arugula – 4 servings
In a medium sized pan, sauté sliced onion in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until almost caramelized, then set aside. Toss the next 5 ingredients in a large baking dish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 5 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, season fillets on both sides with a light coating of olive oil and salt/pepper to taste. Remove tomato sauce from oven after 5 minutes; add sautéed onions, and the fish on top in a single layer. Place baking dish in a 425 degree oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily. This amount of time works well for fillets around ¾” thick, so adjust accordingly for thinner or thicker fillets.
Place a small bunch of arugula on each plate, and then serve the tomato sauce mixture and flounder on top of the arugula. The heat from the mixture will soften the arugula just slightly.
Serve with a crusty French baguette and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, such as Oyster Bay from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. Other wine options that would compliment this meal include a dry Rieseling, or an un-oaked Chardonnay.
Robert Beadell grew up fishing in Florida, and his love for the sport has brought him to Alaska, the Bahamas and beyond. Catching fish for the table, innovating recipes for his catch, and pairing the flavors with the perfect libation, have earned him the reputation of being a creative "foodie." Robert lives on Sykes Creek in Merritt Island and spends most of his free time on the water. He also enjoys scuba diving, especially if it involves catching delicious sea creatures to bring home.