Saturday, June 28, 2014

Flounder Gratin With Tomatoes, Onions And Garlic Pesto

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Before I moved to northern Georgia, I used to live in Key Biscayne, Florida, a small key right off the city of Miami.  All you had to do was cross the Rickenbacker Causeway and there you were...paradise. In 1994, when I moved there from New York,  it was still a small informal community.  I used to brag about my daily uniform of kahki shorts in the summer and khaki pants in winter.  Then the wealthy Latin Americans arrived, real estate prices went up and the key changed forever.

One of the things I enjoyed the most in those days was going down to the docks and buying fresh fish off the fishing boats.  Grouper, Mahi Mahi, Snapper, local Lobster.  Some were in coolers still kicking around.  My daughter had just moved to Atlanta and missed the fresh fish terribly.  She would tell me how, in frustration,  she had started  buying  flash frozen fish from the grocery store and how good it was...or so it seemed.

Knowing how well I had trained her, I knew she wouldn't be encouraging me to try it if it were not that good.  So i decided to give it a whirl and, guess was not bad...not bad at all.  Now that I am here in land locked northern Georgia, guess what?!  Lindaraxa buys these flash frozen filets of flounder at Costco and, to her, they taste divine.  Now, if you are by the coast or have an excellent fish market, by all means buy fresh.  There is nothing like it.

We have gotten to love this preparation and frankly, you would never know the difference.  Remember, there is a reason for all those marvelous French sauces.  Do get fresh herbs...that's the least you can do.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Ingredients Per Person:

1 ovenproof porcelain dish liberally coated with olive oil
2 flounder filets
salt and pepper to taste

Lay one filet on top of the oiled dish.


half of a thinly sliced tomato, seeded and dried with a paper towel

1 ring of a sliced onion

1/2 the Garlic Herb Pesto*

Repeat the layers starting with 2nd piece of founder and ending with the other half of the garlic mix

Top with:

1 TB Panko
1 TB Grated Parmesan Cheese
Drizzle of Olive oil
Butter cut in small cubes on top

Cook in the upper half of the oven at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.  Lower to 375 and cook approximately 8 minutes until browned.  Place under broiler for 2-3 minutes until bubbly.

Serve with a dry French rose.

 Garlic Herb Pesto:

In a small bowl mix:

1 TB garlic paste
1 TB each chopped cilantro, lemon balm, italian parsley, basil
2TB olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon

Makes enough mix for 2 servings.

Recipe and photos Lindaraxa


  1. Your flounder dish sounds divine and I adore cooking individual servings in what we call "boats" in our kitchen. I really like the tomato and panko idea with the fresh herb pesto. We can't exactly find fresh fish either just north of you in the mountains and rely on the fish market at our local grocery store. Not long ago we bought a side of frozen mahi-mahi and it was delicious, but as you said, nothing beats fresh-from-the-docks.

    1. Since you live part of the time in the islands, I know you appreciate what I am talking about. This is not a bad alternative, fresh or flash frozen.

  2. This looks like a delicious dish, frozen or not. We are fortunate to have a few good seafood markets where we buy our fish so I've never considered frozen. I'm happy to read though that flash frozen is an excellent alternative, thank you. Oh, and yes, if you are lucky to have them fresh herbs enliven anything.

    It is funny you should mention sauces. My father will never order any meat or fish dish at a restaurant if it is covered in sauce. According to him, sauces disguise inferior food.

    1. You get it. There is a reason for all those fancy sauces, great or not. I so miss living on a coast, any coast. So we buy it frozen, just after it was caught, and it is really not bad but you have to season it and go with the flow. Once in awhile I get"fresh" halibut, a favorite in this house.

    2. Halibut is a favorite here too. I tried grouper for the first time earlier in the year and it was deliciously meaty, strangely.

  3. This looks wonderful, of course. We just did a Costco run last week and bought salmon and shrimp. I debated over the flounder. Ok, next time. I must say, thanks to you and a few others, I am a devoted fan of Costco!!!!

    1. I don't know what I would do without Costco. We are just getting one in my town less than a mile from my front door!!! I keep a big bag of those flounder filets in the freezer. they come individually wrapped. Sometimes I lightly pass them through flour and fry them in butter/oil lots of garlic, chopped lemon balm and whatever herb. a Squeeze of lemon and yum!


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