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Flounder Florentine

When I chatted with a few of my siblings about the theme for the blog for these few weeks, a couple of them asked if I was going to add this dish to my list. Now that I’ve tried it again, I called around to find out their reactions to it to see if they matched my own. “Because it is disgusting,” was one sibling’s reaction as to the level of her distaste. Another one assured me that she had liked it when we were growing up, but agreed with me that it could use a little bit of work.

Again, I have no idea where this recipe came from originally. My mother said that it was published in a woman’s magazine. When I tried to research it on Google, I got many versions of this dish, each slightly different from what I have written down on my notecard. I have to confess that I’d not actually made this, ever, but had pulled it as one of those fish/Lenten dishes that sounded like a good thing to have my repertoire.

In going through all the ingredients, it did seem a little bit bland-sounding to me. While waiting for the fish to cook, I was just wishing for an idea of how to jazz it up a bit more, flavor-wise. I’d planned to serve it alongside some boiled, small red potatoes. Then, it hit me – I needed to sauté the potatoes in olive oil and garlic to give the entire meal a bit more of an interesting kick. Sure enough, that did it.

This dish is very easy to cut in half which makes it a lovely (with the garlic potatoes and a glass of white wine) meal for mommy and daddy to have while the kids get to enjoy fishsticks and tater tots, which is really what they wanted for dinner anyway instead of something “disgusting” with spinach in it. Maybe it was just a bit too sophisticated for my sister’s childhood palate. This is the child who, after all, survived for at least a year on hotdogs, applesauce and cottage cheese for dinner.


Flounder Florentine

Prep time: 15 minutes, plus 25 for cooking
Serving size: 4 (can be cut in half)

Ingredients:
2 bunches fresh spinach, cleaned, cooked and cooled
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. leaf oregano, crumbled
olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 fresh flounder fillets (about 7 oz. each)
2 tsp. butter
2 tsp. breadcrumbs

Assembly:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Centigrade / Gas Mark 4). Grease small shallow baking dish. In bowl, combine mozzarella, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and oregano. Separately, mix together spinach, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cut each flounder fillet in half lengthwise. Spread a layer of the spinach on each fillet. Add a layer of the cheese mixture on top of that. Roll up each fillet, making sure that the spinach and cheese stays inside and pierce with a toothpick or small wooden skewer to keep it intact.

Place in baking dish, seam-side down. Put a small pat of butter on top of each fillet and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Bake, covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5 minutes more to brown breadcrumbs. Serve hot.

Buon appetito!