Fish + Greek Style Chutney
Inspired by an epic Friday night meal of branzino, eggplant, zucchini, salad and wine I planned to relive it at home. A kingdom for grilled branzino every day, deboning and picking pins like a professional - but it gets costly … sometimes a lady has to get her wild flounder on because the price is right at the fish market.
So, despite Saturday’s sizzling temperatures and swampy NYC humidity I dared to walk and go grocery shopping. I wanted to make a meal that conjured that very Friday night where I traveled to the Mediterranean in my my mind. Too bad I came home from this shopping trip a hot mess and disaster. Standing topless in front of my air conditioner, doing the old head in the freezer trick - I decided the only solution was to drink iced coffee in my underwear and watch a full season of The Good Place. There was no cooking. I ate eggs. My Mediterranean voyage would have to wait.
Sunday arrived and with it my thighs unstuck, my heat-bloat subsided and I could see through to cooking.
My Sunday meal was merely a spin on my night out, using ingredients that looked most fresh at my market. I knew I wanted to capture soft crunch without frying eggplant or zucchini and without making a salad and making more work. Briny capers, zesty lemon and olive oil - a holy trinity of Mediterranean fare - would thread my meal together. Without a grill or whole fish at home I opted for my filet of wild flounder and celery as the main ingredients in my meal. Swordfish or cod is a heartier white fish to withstand this cooking and can be substituted for the flounder.
With a pantry full of roasted peppers, pickled peppers and vinegary delights - I pulled out my pepperoncini to make this meal sing. If you don’t have pepperoncini or don’t care for them, you can lose them and opt to add a teaspoon or two of white or red vinegar to kick up the acid so there’s something to stand against the salty capers and olives. Integrating tomatoes for color (and a hint of sweetness) and feta for a creamy finish; the flavors of my Friday night meal were achieved at home. Sure, it looked different - but it tasted (maybe) even better. Not a classic preparation of chutney, but this chunky celery and vinegar based sauce was a light and clean spin on an Indian meal essential.
1 filet of wild caught flounder
1 teaspoon of salted butter
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of capers
3-4 cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1 tablespoon of sliced pepperoncini peppers
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1-2 stalks of celery, keep the leaves, diced
1 tablespoon of crumbled feta
Heat butter and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium low heat
Add the flounder and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, gently turning as flounder is light and flaky
Sprinkle celery, tomatoes, peppers, capers and olives around the fish
Add lemon juice and sprinkle of oregano, move the vegetables about the pan being careful to not disturb the fish!
Remove fish from pan and plate
Continue to sauté veggies (I like my celery crisp) about the pan for another 1-2 minutes
Top fish with celery mixture
Sprinkle with feta and 1 teaspoon of olive oil