Sunday, April 28, 2013

Familiar Patterns

The temperature, after many false starts, is finally rising in New Jersey. Although one still needs to wear a light jacket, the sun is shining through--a mood elevator for sure.

When my life gets crazy, as it is right now, I tend to become super organized. Controlling the quotidian aspects of my life makes me feel less out of control. I am one of those people who finds comfort in familiar patterns and the predictability of routine. And one of my patterns is very predictable as I've said before--I go into the kitchen to cook.

This week I made a few tasty dishes for week-night dining. As I was racing through the market one afternoon, I saw some very nice flounder filets. I knew that at home I had some shallots, garlic and feta cheese, so I grabbed a bunch of spinach as I flew through the produce aisle.

When I got home,  I poured some olive oil into a saute pan, added a large minced shallot and brought the pan up to heat. I cooked the shallot until it was starting to soften then added a clove of garlic, minced.

In the mean time I cleaned and chopped the spinach then dropped it into the pan and sauteed for a couple of minutes. When it was wilted I turned off the heat and tossed in a handful of cubed feta cheese, letting it soften a bit then setting it aside to cool.

When it was time to prepare dinner I laid out the filets and put about 2 tablespoons of filling on each one. I rolled them up and placed them into an oiled baking dish, sprinkled them with olive oil and a dusting of paprika.  Then into a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until cooked through but not dry.

Not bad for a Wednesday night.


 Spinach and Feta Stuffed Flounder Filets

1 pound flounder filets (4)
10 ounces fresh spinach
1/3 cup feta cheese, cut into small cubes
Olive oil for pan
1 large shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour olive oil into saute pan, add minced shallot and bring pan up to heat. When shallots start to soften add minced garlic and saute until translucent.  Add spinach to pan and saute for about 3 minutes, until wilted.

Off heat add feta cheese and stir until it just begins to soften. Season with nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

Season flounder filets with salt and pepper, then place about 2 tablespoons of the filling onto each filet. Roll fish filets and place in an oiled baking dish, seam side down. Drizzle fish with some olive oil and sprinkle with some paprika.

Bake in 400 degree oven, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until fish is firm but not dried out.

Serves 3-4


  1. Oh I wish I was more like you! When my life is busy any control or order goes out of the window and I ran around chasing my tail. Ho hum. I like the sound of this fish dish very much. I have tried to cook more fish lately but find that I am not much good at it. I need more practice and probably patience.

    1. Many people are hesitant about cooking fish, but I have no doubt that you do fine. Roasting fish at high temperature doesn't require too much patience--give it a try.

  2. Familiar patterns. I understand the comfort and yet cannot ever seem to keep them in motion. Your flounder looks fabulous.

    1. Thanks,Denise. I guess I'm a bit OCD. But you, my dear, are an artist.

  3. You have an artistic eye, Michele.The flounder dish, made on the fly, is pure simple inspiration. And, I love your collection of pitchers

  4. That was beautiful, Michele. I love patterns as well. So comforting.

  5. Tracy, thank you. Nice to hear from you.