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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