closet foodies: poached lemon flounder with lemon herb pasta

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closet foodies: poached lemon flounder with lemon herb pasta

written by David and Stephanie

At the end of our gym workout, Thursday night, I asked Stef what she wanted for dinner.  Before heading to the locker room, she announced a salad would be okay.  Upon Stef’s return from the locker room, she informed me that the salad thought had now evolved into a lemon filet of sole with lemon herb pasta. “No problem, I can throw that together”, I said.  Ever since going on an amped-up health kick last year (seriously, turning 50 will do that) we tend to eat fresh.  So, almost every late afternoon or evening we decide what sounds good for the night, we buy the fresh (read: unprocessed) ingredients, and cook to order.  Luckily, our gym is next to the local Wegman’s and the fish monger there is excellent. The fish is always fresh and first-rate.  Unfortunately, last night there was no filet of sole so we opted for one of my all time favorites, FLOUNDER!  My idea, for the night, was to poach the flounder in a little butter, white wine, lemon zest and lemon juice with some French thyme (from the kids’ herb garden) to round out the flavors.  For the pasta, I wanted to keep it simple:  garlic, Italian parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice and fresh peas.

With all the ingredients assembled it was time to get down to business.  NOW, the part of my cooking Stef doesn’t get;  first, I almost never use a recipe and second, I don’t measure, at least not in the traditional sense.  I more or less cook by feel and taste!  I tend to be more like Jamie Oliver.  I mean really, who needs measuring cups and spoons when you can use handfuls, pinches and glugs.  While I’m cooking, I’ll look in the pan or dip in a spoon and if it looks or tastes like the dish needs more wine, butter or whatever…I add it!  Simple!

The ingredients…

1/2 pound flounder filet (or any mild white fish)
zest and juice of 2 lemons
fresh peas, blanched (or frozen peas defrosted if it’s all you have)
big handful of chopped Italian parsley
several sprigs of fresh thyme
3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic
a couple, OK maybe a few, tablespoons of butter
white wine (I won’t drink it but it’s great to cook with)
extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of pasta (we prefer gemelli but riccioli was all that was available)
fresh ground pepper
sea salt
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
 

The nitty-gritty…

Gather up your ingredients (Remember to make sure Stef takes the pictures because I do not possess the requisite skills!). Cook the pasta to al dente and set aside, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Don’t forget to salt your water before cooking the pasta as it really helps with the flavor of the dish. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet, on medium high heat, toss in the thyme and some of the lemon zest. Once the thyme is fragrant, add some lemon juice and a good dose of white wine (enough to just cover the fish during cooking). Season the fish with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and slide into the bubbling liquid. I cook the fish until opaque and is still firm. Careful here, if you over cook the fish it will fall apart. When done, remove fish to serving dish and cover. Return pan to heat and cook down the remaining liquid until reduced by half. Pour reduced sauce over fish prior to serving

For the pasta, in separate heavy skillet add a few glugs of good extra virgin olive oil. Over medium high heat add the thinly sliced garlic and cook until light brown. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, sea salt and pepper along with a really good dose of white wine and cook until mixture begins to thicken. Add pasta to the skillet with some of the reserved cooking liquid. Toss pasta to coat with the sauce. Add the blanched peas and several good measures of the freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese and toss again to mix completely. Serve with additional cheese.

We paired our meal with an excellent Malbec from Otium Cellars. Yea, I know red wine with fish is some kind of faux pas but as I said earlier, “White wine, great for cooking…we drink RED!

Bon Appetit!

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