Thursday, October 29, 2015

Roasted Flounder with Riesling

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

With the change of seasons, I’ve started to pay closer attention to the varietals of wine that I’m choosing.  As the weather cools down, my thirst changes along with my palate.  The flavors that I desire smack of wet stones, brine, smoke and char- just like foods that my stomach grumbles for.

Last night I was fortunate to find some really gorgeous flounder filets from Metropolitan Seafood out here in New Jersey.  If you’ve never tried flounder, skip your flavorless filets of red snapper and scoop up this very delightful fish.  Similar in color to the ubiquitous red snapper, flounder glistens in the light and offers a very shellfish taste.  Just the thing for Riesling. 

I tried to pare back my dish to make absolutely sure that the flavors of the flounder were not overpowered by any one ingredient.  The aromatics of the fish were quite simply of the ocean.  A drop of olive oil from Marseilles, brine, citrus, tomato, and rosemary- that was what I attempted to exemplify.  Nothing more.  This is a perfect dish that calls out for a hint of sweetness, a dryness that comes with salt water, sea smoke and the crispness of stainless steel.

Riesling sings to me in the fall because well made Riesling is a thing of fleeting beauty in the time between warmth and cold.  Those days where the air is thick, then refreshing- all in one sip. 

Bonny Doon makes such a Riesling.  It speaks of the time where warmth balances the brisk and where recipes that hold simplicity as their merit bring amusement to the room.  Your sips don’t shout synchronicity they suggest relaxation and comfort.  Bonny Doon Vineyard "The Heart Has Its" Rieslings is a play on words for the intellectual.  Aromatics and flavors of white flowers, toasted nuts, stone fruit and stainless steel evolve into a discussion on Proust or Kant or even Chekov.  Bonny Doon wines are erudite and bold but one thing they are not, is the same old thing.  I’m pretty sure that if you believe in flying saucers, you’ll find Bonny Doon wines most beguiling and authentic.

Just like I found the “The Heart Has It’s” goes with my perfectly delicious filet of flounder.  The fish brought out the sweetness in the Queen of Grapes (Riesling) and that sweetness evaporated into crisp acidity, foiled by the rosemary and the citrus from the lemon.  There is a touch of creamy avocado, interspersed with the tomato along with a touch of shallot that is just sublime.

The notes of tomato and the salinity of the flounder brought out deeper notes of brioche toasts smeared with stone fruit jam and caramelized fall nuts. 

It’s easy to enjoy lightly chilled Riesling made as well as this one with other savory foods like Brook Trout Almandine or my favorite, Green Thai Curry.  You can make this curry with duck and I’ll be most pleased because green curry and duck are a match made in heaven for Riesling. 

It’s lip smacking goodness!

Flounder and Tomato with Avocado, Rosemary and Lemon 

2- ½ pound filets of flounder- bones and cleaned well, wrap in paper towel and keep cool
½ lemon, sliced into very thin slices- paper thin- use a sharp knife
2 cherry tomatoes- sliced thinly
1 teaspoon olive oil- I used one from the South of France
Slices of very ripe avocado
Very thin slices of shallot
Sea Salt
Freshly Cracked Pepper

Heat a toaster oven- or regular oven to 375 degrees
Grease a piece of foil or stoneware with olive oil
Place the flounder on the cooking surface
Salt and pepper the fish
Arrange the tomato, lemon and avocado on the surface of the fish, with the shallot
Crush some rosemary over the tomato, shallot and avocado with the lemon slices
Roast for 5 minutes, turn off the oven and let sit in the oven for 5 minutes

Plate and serve with couscous or brown rice

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Warren Bobrow is the creator of the popular blog The Cocktail Whisperer and the author of nearly half a dozen books, including Apothecary Cocktails, Whiskey Cocktail and Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails- his most recent book.

He's also written about cocktails for Saveur and Whole Foods/Dark Rye, Total Food Service, Eater, Serious Eats, Foodista, Distiller and Beverage Media among other outlets.  He’s taught the fine art of social media and food writing at the New School in New York and at the Institute for Culinary Education. Warren has also taught at Stonewall Kitchen in Maine.

Bobrow was a 2010 Ministry of Rum judge and was the only American food journalist asked to participate in Fête de la Gastronomie, a nationwide celebration of French cuisine in Burgundy.

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