Baked Canadian Flounder

You remember that I visited my sister in Chicago? Well, it was so sweet of her to cook for me. Being unfamiliar with her kitchen, I am utterly useless as a cook. Presenting my sister, Lorna, a guest blogger for today. Yes I know, the recipe is not Filipino style of cooking but my sister is a Pinoy cooking for me, so please do not send me emails saying “This recipe is not Filipino food”.

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When Noemi visited us in Illinois in October 2008, my husband bought some fish fillets fresh off the butcher’s table at a local supermarket. In honor of Noemi’s visit, I created a recipe that reflected my love for Fish Sinigang but with an Italian twist — and perfect for the busy cook in the home.

I may never completely turn vegetarian (not yet, anyway!) but I can certainly try with being a pesco-vegetarian. A vegetarian food pyramid was actually created to motivate healthy eating.

According to my research, there are four types of vegetarians:

  • True Vegetarian: Eats nothing from an animal, fresh or processed. Also known as a “vegan” to identify a person’s politics about vegetarianism.
  • Lacto-Vegetarian: Includes dairy products in their diet.
  • Ovo-Vegetarian: The only animal product in this diet is eggs.
  • Pesco-Vegetarian: Includes fish, chicken, eggs and dairy products, no red meat.

Here is the recipe I created for my sister.

Note: If your fish fillets had been frozen, defrost them in your refrigerator a day before.

BAKED CANADIAN FLOUNDER A LA NOEMI

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Wash four fish fillets; each fillet is about 6″ long and 3-1/2″ wide (at the center of the fillet).

3. Prepare an 11 x 13 pyrex (fire-resistant glass dish that is non-reactive to any citric juices) by drizzling the surface with extra-virgin olive oil. This might be about 1 Tbsp.

4. Get McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning and rub on both sides of the fish fillets.

5. Set two fillets side-by-side and layer another two fillets on top of the first layer.

6. Slice two medium-sized (about 3-1/2″ in diameter) vine-ripened tomatoes. Layer these “tomato circles” on top of the fish fillets. This might mean two layers of tomatoes.

7. Top the mixture with 2 tsps. finely-chopped basil. (I normally use Dorot’s frozen basil that is found at Trader Joe’s. In this case, halfway through the baking, when the chopped basil cube has melted, I spread it evenly on top of the tomatoes.)

8. Drizzle the top of the layered dish with extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tbsp. (The flounder is excellent for baking because it is known as a fatty fish.)

9. Get aluminum foil and wrap it around the pyrex dish. The goal is to bake the flounder while steaming it, thus trapping all the goodness inside the enclosure.

10. Depending on the thickness of the fish, bake the dish for 45 minutes.

11. Serve piping-hot straight from the oven, minus the aluminum foil. The citric acid from the tomatoes delicately flavor the dish. Any Filipino who misses sinigang will enjoy its not-too-sour taste.

12. Don’t forget the steamed rice!

If Montreal Steak Seasoning is not found in your supermarket shelves, here’s a recipe:

Montreal Steak Seasoning Recipe

From: Recipe Secrets

2 TSPS California garlic powder (probably any garlic powder, not garlic salt, will do)

1 TBSP plus 1 tsp coarsely ground coriander seeds

2 TBSPS coarse (kosher or sea) salt

1 TBSP plus 1 tsp dill weed

1 TBSP plus 1 tsp paprika

1 TBSP plus 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper)

1 TBSP plus 1 tsp freshly ground (coarse) black pepper

Mix all & store in a glass container.