Thursday, August 11, 2011

Flounder with Fresh Tomato, Corn, Avocado Salsa

Flounder With Fresh Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salsa

There are no screaming flavors here, just a quiet partnership of components: delicately flavored white fish and a fresh, subtle salsa. Summer produce gets another chance to shine in this recipe, taken from a cookbook that focuses on ingredients easily found at farmers markets in Southern states.
Pacific flounder is preferred over Atlantic, which is being overfished, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch list. Tilapia and halibut are sustainable substitutes.
MAKE AHEAD: If you don't have to put this together all at once, the salsa can be covered and refrigerated for up to 6 hours; bring it to room temperature before serving.

6 servings
For the salsa
1/2 lime
1 small ripe avocado, or 1/2 medium avocado
3 scallions
Leaves from 4 or 5 sprigs basil, plus chopped basil for optional garnish
Small bunch chives
2 medium cloves garlic
1/4 cup good-quality olive oil
Dash honey, preferably local
Dash ground cumin
4 saffron threads (optional, not really! This is a must, IMO
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ear corn
4 medium tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
For the fish
6 Pacific flounder fillets (about 6 ounces each)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 sundried tomato tortillas, cut in strips, fried until crisp and seasoned with salt
For the salsa: Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from the lime into a medium bowl (2 teaspoons). Peel the avocado and discard the pit; cut the flesh into 1/2-inch dice and add to the bowl, stirring gently to coat evenly.
Cut the white and light-green part of the scallions in half lengthwise, then chop into small pieces and add to the bowl. Chop the basil (4 tablespoons) and chives (3 tablespoons); add to the bowl. Mince the garlic and add to the bowl. Add the olive oil, honey, cumin, saffron, if using, and salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the ear of corn crosswise in half. Once the water boils, add the corn cob halves and cook for 2 minutes, then use tongs to transfer the halves to a plate to cool. Let the water return to a boil.
Carefully drop a tomato into the boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer it to a plate and let it cool slightly. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes. Peel and seed the tomatoes, then cut the flesh into 1/2-inch dice; add to the bowl. Use a knife to cut the kernels from the corn cob halves; add the kernels to the bowl and mix gently to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Just before serving, prepare the fish: Rinse the fillets and remove any bones. Pat dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the fillets in a single layer; cook for 2 minutes, then carefully turn them over and cook for 2 minutes, or until the fish is golden brown in spots and just opaque in the center.
When ready to serve, divide the salsa among individual plates. Place a fillet on top of each portion and garnish with chopped basil and tortilla strips, if desired.