Friday, February 27, 2009

Broiled Flounder (Izgara Dil Balığı)

My uncle was the inspiration for the way I cooked this fish. He used to grill a whole flounder for us quite often and it used to turn out so flaky and moist. We always had a salad and fresh bread with it. Since I do not have space for an outdoor grill, as an alternative, I broil. The flesh of flounder is so soft and delicate; you have to pay extra attention when cooking. You may notice that I use the same or similar combination of ingredients (salt, pepper, paprika, olive oil and lemon juice) for marinating poultry, meat and fish. This combination works very well and produces a very Mediterranean taste. Observing my uncle’s grilling, I noticed he used this combination often and I loved the result.

When buying fish he always advised me to purchase wild fish rather than farm raised. Farm raised fish do not get the chance to swim around and eat food from nature. For that reason, they are given antibiotics and pesticides and who knows what else. I am not an expert on this subject, but I religiously follow my uncle’s advice on this. Some wild fish may have mercury, but we try to consume these kinds of fish less.

Another thing that my uncle taught me to pay attention while buying fish is freshness. He only purchased fish that was brought in the market that day and always advised me to do the same. It never occurred to me at that time, any of the information he was sharing would come in handy, but now I am very glad he taught me all these things. There are only a few fish types that I purchase previously frozen, meaning they were frozen before and thawed at the market.

Every week, I make sure to purchase at least one type of fish or seafood since it is so much healthier than meat. So every time I purchase fish, I ask the person behind the seafood counter at the supermarket about the day the fish came in. If the fish I am inquiring about did not come in that day, 95% of the time, I do not buy it. After getting used my questions, the people working behind the seafood counter at the market, graciously told me about the scheduled days for bringing fish to the market. This makes things so much easier!

In my household in Turkey, fish consumption is much higher than chicken or red meat as my father always preached us to eat more fish and less meat. He has a few fisherman acquaintances who inform him about their catches, so our fish at home is just out of the Mediterranean Sea! Grilling fish over wood fire is a favorite way of eating fish at our home, along with poaching and baking.

This particular fish was so large that I had to use a baklava tray for the fish when I cooked it. No serving plate would fit the fish. Add a salad and a glass of wine and you're good to go.

1 whole flounder
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp olive oil

Prepare a big oven tray. Put the fish inside the tray and rub with the ingredients. Rub half of each ingredient on each side of the fish.

Heat the oven broiler at 500º F. Put the tray on the second top rack and broil each side of the fish for 10 minutes. It may be challenging to turn the big fish once one side is cooked; you may need wide tools to turn it over without breaking it. Enjoy with salad and warm bread.

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Navita said...

Nihal love that fish...n since its a fish its healthier too :)

Mediterranean kiwi said...

the way you have described buying fish is pretty much what happens in crete. i also buy fresh fish from only two places, and make sure that i am served by the same person at the counter each time. i think people aren't very honest, so if you know someone who will give you something that is good quality, you are forced to go back to that person on a regular basis

Varsha Vipins said...

Nihal,its ma first time here..I love turkish food..:)lovely space u have..:).
Fish looks yum ..:)

Laurie Constantino said...

Your uncle is a very smart man. He is right about farmed fish - it not only has the problems you talk about, but it has a muddy taste compared to its wild cousins. And I'm like you, I always ask for detailed information about when the fish arrived in the store and only buy the ones that have just arrived. The people at the store where I buy fish now usually tell me which fish is freshest - they don't lie because they know I'm going to buy something, but only what is best. As for your flounder, it's huge and it's gorgeous! You really did that fish justice!!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Navita, you are so right about fish being healthy.

Maria, I agree with you that sometimes people behind seafood counter are not very honest about the freshness of fish. In the past, I had some experience with that, however I realize quickly when the person is lying. Usually, I reword my question and they make it obvious if they are being honest or not. I think when I ask "which fish came in today?", when the person responded "all of them", I knew he was lying. I really do trust the people in the market I shop in currently and like you, I only buy fish from only two places that I trust.

Varsha, thanks for stopping by and thanks for your comments.

Laurie, yes, you are very right about the taste of farm raised fish. The taste is not even close to the taste of its wild counterparts. Once I bought farm raised salmon by mistake and I could tell a world of difference between the two in terms of taste.

Soma said...

We eat our fishes pretty often, but I have never cooked flounder. Looks good.

& wanted to tell u that I love your name...its sounds so pretty. if u do not mind what does it mean?

lisaiscooking said...

This looks so good. And, great tips on choosing fresh fish. I would love to enjoy fish freshly caught from the Mediterranean some day!

Selba said...

wow... the fish looks so delicious!

Reeni♥ said...

I had a bad experience with salmon a few weeks ago. It looked and smelled ok but when it was cooking began to give off a real bad smell. It tasted awful. You are lucky to have a good market to get fresh fish. This looks delicious! You are such a good cook, to cook a whole fish like this!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Reenie, sorry about your salmon experience. That bad fish smell is not a pleasant thing for sure.

Sapuche said...

That looks so good! Flounder was my favorite fish as a child, and it's been much too long since I've eaten it. Also, your uncle sounds like a wise man, and I appreciate your sharing his wisdom. Thanks for posting this!

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Beautiful piece of fish! Never prepared flounder at home before, so I'm glad for the tips!