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Enliven sole, flounder with festive salsa

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2002

The transformation from basic to exciting often involves nothing more than a slight twist.

Take sole or flounder, for example. Bland white fish. A blank canvas, if you will, waiting for the color and flavor you add to make it special.

The following recipe will enliven either sole or flounder. To speed the preparation, start the fish when the salsa is about halfway done. Boiled redskin potatoes or fresh green beans — or both — will make this a great dinner. Enjoy!


Filet of Sole (or Flounder)
with a Tomato-and-Onion Salsa

    For the salsa:
  • 2 cups onions, cut into very small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons shallots, minced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 small plum tomatoes, cut in half horizontally and seeded
  • 1/2 cup sweet red pepper, finely minced
  • 2/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 6 large pitted Sicilian olives, minced
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

    For the fish:

  • Butter, for greasing pan
  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) sole or flounder fillets
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 to 4 ounces canned fish stock
  • 3 to 4 large sprigs flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, for the garnish

To prepare the salsa: In a nonaluminum, heavy-bottomed pan over medium to medium-low heat, cook the onions, garlic and half of the shallots in the butter until the onions are a pale golden color. Add the vinegar and salt and pepper; cook, covered, for 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook, covered, for another 10 minutes. Add the sweet red pepper and half of the olive oil and continue to cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes.

Add the thyme and the olives and cook, uncovered, for about 2 minutes or until the salsa has thickened a bit and has the consistency of a store-bought bottled salsa.

Add the parsley and the remaining olive oil and mix well. Remove from the heat and cover. The salsa should be warm when served.

To prepare the fish: Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spread the remaining shallots over the bottom of a buttered, ovenproof baking dish large enough to hold the fillets. Place the fish on top of the shallots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the wine and stock.

Cover the fillets with a piece of wax paper that has been coated with vegetable cooking spray. Place the dish into the hot oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and the paper from the top of the fish. Portion the salsa onto a dinner plate, and then carefully lift out a portion of the fish and place it on the salsa. Place a generous sprig of the flat leaf parsley on the plate. Repeat with the remaining salsa and fish.

Makes 4 servings.

Editor's note: If you cannot find canned fish stock, substitute bottled clam juice. Add the salt after the stock to avoid oversalting the cooking liquid.

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