If you don’t like eyes looking at you from your plate, then flounder are the worst.
I grew up eating yellowbelly flounder. My parents steamed whole fish with fresh ginger and a touch of hot oil and soy, served with rice and a side of greens. Fish doesn’t need much messing around with. While I’m sure not everyone feels the same way, there’s something I find super appealing about fish served whole.
Fun fish fact: Flounder are born with an eye on each side but as they develop, one eye grows over to the other side to join the other.
Yellowbelly flounder are available year round and I’ve paired them here with tomatoes which also available year round as they are grown in glasshouses. When buying whole fish, Look for bright clear eyes, shiny tight scales and a moist flat tail. A fish with a dry tail is a sad sight. Your flounder will probably be gutted and most places may have scaled your fish, if not ask, for them to be scaled or do it yourself. Some people eat the tiny scales but the texture is better without. If you can’t find yellowbelly flounder, use sand flounder though they are not as plump. The easiest way to spot the difference between yellowbelly flounder and sand flounder is to flip them over to check their bellies. Yellowbelly are yellow underneath, sometimes with dark spots. Sand flounder have white bellies.
I’ve made a lazy version of chimichurri sauce, which is a herb sauce from Central and South America to accompany grilled meats. It also happens to be delicious with fish and adds a beautiful pop of colour. I often make variations of this lazy chimichurri sauce due to only having a few herbs on hand. Use flat leaf and coriander if you have it, otherwise regular curly parsley will do just fine. I chopped by hand but if you have a processor or similar chopping gadget, use that.
This recipe including the sauce comes together in about 30 minutes and if serving with rice I recommend putting that on at the same time.
Oven baked flounder with tomatoes
- 2 whole flounder (300-400g each)
- 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
- olive oil
- 3cm cube of butter
- salt and pepper
- Rice, greens and chimichurri to serve (see recipe for Lazy Chimichurri below)
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Scale flounder and rinse in water. Pat dry and place onto a foil lined oven tray.
- Make 3 diagonal slashes on the skin side of each flounder, careful not to cut all the way through.
- Thinly slice the butter and place slices along the tops of each flounder.
- Arrange onion and tomatoes around the flounder, drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes at 200°C until fish is cooked through and vegetables have a hint of char.
- Spoon chimichurri sauce along the top of the fish or serve on the side with greens and rice.
Makes about 1 cup
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 1 1/2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Optional: jalapeño, minced
- Place ingredients into a jar and mix to combine.
- If not serving immediately, pop the lid on and refrigerate to allow flavours to mingle.
Serve with steak, chops, chicken, fish or even portobello mushrooms. I’ve also stirred this through both potato salad and pasta salad. Good for 3 days…even a week.