Last year in my internship I was fortunate enough to participate in a national Cherry Festival. And yes it was exactly as it sounds – a festival to celebrate the ripe, sun-warmed and aromatic Danish cherries. There were stands all around with cherry products; ice cream, syrups, juice, wine, and compote…you name it! It was absolutely amazing, I don’t ever think I have eaten so many beautiful cherries before!
My role in this cherry festival was to work in a folk kitchen, where people came and participated (for free) in making there own three course cherry meal, all of them supervised by us – this ‘us’ did include some very talented chefs. I loved this job. People were absolutely thrilled to get free food and new knowledge, and afterwards when they enjoyed their meal and the talk and laughter was floating in the air – we all just looked at each other and smiled! Talk about living your passion here!
About the food… we made some very simple and yet incredible tasty meals that captured the feeling of summer with the use of other seasonal foods together with the ripe and juicy cherries. All of it perfectly balanced in flavor and texture!
Some of what I remember is how to properly cook the fish we used; European plaice! An almost national fish – unfortunately famous in the deep fried almost orange and greasy dough version, served with fries on the side. Well this was not the way we made them! First of all we used freshly caught fish! Then we double folded the filets in order to have a thicker fish and be able to fry them and still get a crispy crust and a moist and tender middle. The filets were then rolled in rye flour and fried in butter and oil, did I mention all of them turned out perfect! This method seemed bullet proof and the result is irresistible.
In this recipe I wanted to include this method of preparing the fish. I have stuffed the filets with parsley and mustard and added them on a bed of oven roasted aubergine, capers and pomegranate. Capers are a perfect way to get a salty touch and the pomegranate is supposed to add a little sweetness. I would have preferred to use ripe cherries, it seems right, but as they are not in season right now the pomegranates are a great alternative. Since pomegranate is a bit sourer than e.g. cherries you could use honey mustard in the flounder or drizzle with a bit of honey vinaigrette, see recipe here.
Stuffed plaice on oven roasted Aubergine
4-6 european plaice filets, cleaned and rinsed
1-2 Tbsp whole mustard (you can use honey mustard as well)
Half a bunch of flat leaved parsley
½ cup rye flour (50 g)
Oil and butter
Roasted aubergine salad
4 Tbsp capers
½ small pomegranate (or two handfuls ripe cherries)
4 cloves of garlic, mashed
Half a bunch flat leaved parsley
Juice and zest from ½-1 organic lemon
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp honey vinaigrette, see recipe here (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 200 °C /400 °F.
2. Dice the aubergines in around 1,5 cm x 1,5 cm (0,5 inch x 0,5 inch) cubes. On a lined baking sheet mix aubergine with 2-3 Tbsp oil, garlic, salt & pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Roast for 20 min or until golden and slightly brown in the edges – set a side.
3. In a bowl mix half of the chopped parsley with capers, pomegranate or cherries, lemon zest and juice. Add aubergine as well just before serving. Season to taste.
4. Make sure the fresh filets are rinsed and cleaned from all dark spots. On half of the skin side add a bit of mustard (around ½ tsp) and a Tbsp chopped parsley and fold the fish on the middle, so that all the stuffing are inside the fish. Mix the rye flour with salt and pepper.
5. Heat a pan and add a Tbsp of butter and a Tbsp of oil. Roll the fish in rye flour so they are completely covered and place on the hot pan. They should have around 2-3 min on each side, until they are crispy and golden. If you are making these in two batches, make sure to wipe of the pan with some kitchen towel in between and add new oil and butter in order to avoid any burned leftover rye flour to transfer to the new batch.
6. Place 2-3 filets on top of a portion aubergine salad. If you lack a little sweetness add a drizzle of honey vinaigrette.