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Poached Flounder

Not much to look at but a lot of flavor

This recipe almost didn't make it here. When I carefully removed the fish from the pan, it fell apart and looked real messy. Then I thought I lost one of the toothpicks in the broth but then found it in the mound of fish. BUT then I tasted it and knew it was definitely worthy of a post.

I bravely added some pepper flakes - I am very heat adverse. For some reason I am very sensitive to heat. I once cut a serrano chile* without gloves and my hands burned for a full 24 hours. I tired every single thing I read on the internet** - soaking your hands in milk, vinegar all sorts of things and nothing worked. So I figure if the outside of my body is that sensitive imagine the inside! But I digress yet again.  The Sous Chef really liked the heat in the dish (I thought I had gone a little heavy on the pepper flakes). But he confirmed that I needed to post this recipe. Don't mind the pictures - totally not pretty. But then again the taste is what it's really about to me. I'm not in it for the photography - I'm in it for the taste.

Flounder Poached in Coconut, Ginger Broth (adapted from Fine Cooking)

1lb flounder fillets
1 T fresh grated ginger
salt/pepper
1 c basil or Thai Basil (optional)
1 T oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2" piece of ginger, cut in matchsticks
2 clove garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, cut on the diagonal (1/8" thick)
chile pepper flakes, to taste
1 c chicken stock
5 1/2 oz coconut milk
4 scallions, cut on the diagonal
2 T fish sauce
1 T mirin
2 t lime juice
zest of 1 lime
1 c rice cooked

Dry the fillets with a paper towel. Season fillets with salt and pepper. Evenly divide grated ginger amongst fish. Sprinkle about 1 T torn basil over fish (if using). Tear the basil so it doesn't brown.  Roll each fillet starting at the thin end and secure with a toothpick. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small 4qt saucepan with a tight fitting lid, heat oil. Add shallot, matchstick ginger, and garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add celery and cook until softened. Add pepper flakes. Add the chicken broth and heat to a simmer. Remove from heat. Arrange fish on top of vegetables. Pour the coconut milk over the fish. Heat to as simmer, reduce heat, place the lid on. Simmer about 8-10 minutes until fish is flakey.

Remove fish from pan (it is very difficult). Add remaining basil, scallions, fish sauce, mirin, lime juice, and zest to the pot. Bring broth to a simmer.

Place a small amount of rice in a bowl. Remove toothpicks from fish and set on top of rice. Ladle broth over fish and serve.

I know what to do what to do with the remaining coconut milk.  I replaced some of the water in the rice for coconut milk. It adds an additional coconut flavor and a little creaminess to the rice. This recipe really comes together quite quickly - it's a great weeknight meal. I didn't have the Thai basil - it's not always that easy to find. So I settled on regular basil and it was quite good. Next time I find some Thai basil, I know what recipe I'll be giving a test run.


*Note: I'm following this convention in the chili and chile debate - who knew?
**Yes I know not necessarily a reliable source

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