Inspiration for this creation comes from several incentives. Let me share because I think you’ll get a kick out of how my recipes are ‘birthed’!
First of all, as some of you might know, we live on the water along the coast of the Carolinas. And, this location affords us so many beautiful things with one of the best being fresh catches throughout the year depending upon the season. Flounder is one of our favorite white fish. It’s tender. Flaky. Mild. And, lends itself perfectly to eating whole or as a filet. You can change up the seasonings depending upon your hankerings. So, Ben, my hubby, who has this ratpack well-used john boat was verrreeee slowly sputtering back to our dock, his fishing line in the water when he gets a bite. Yep, not 100 feet from tying up, calling it a day and coming in empty handed, he nabbed a fat flounder about 5 pounds and about 16 inches long. That meant we would eat that night!
I’m inspired all the time by the universal language of food. It doesn’t matter where I go, camel trekking in the Sahara, riding the subway in Boston, checking out of the grocery line, standing in line at the home improvement store…wherever and whatever…I can strike up a conversation about food. And, you know what, I always have eyes light up and folks want to talk!
Back track to a few weeks prior. I was on a flight coming from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach. Sitting next to me was the big tall hefty man. He hadn’t missed many meals. I knew he was an outdoorsman, probably hunting and fishing, by his attire and his hat. I smiled when I sat down. Buckled my seatbelt, nestled into my ‘space’ then said in my perky, yes, let’s talk, voice, ‘So! What takes you to Myrtle Beach?’ With his Bayou drawl he said, ‘Pigs’. Of course, I was kind of taken aback. OK, I’m thinking pigs, what’s happening in this resort town with pigs. As the conversation progressed, I was intently intrigued. This gentleman was going to the Wild Pig Conference being held there for 2016. Let me tell you, I had NO idea about wild pigs (boars) and what a problem they are in the Southeast, how they ravage land and cause destruction, the issues that they create for farmers and people. AND, I had no idea there were people who work in this area who help with controlling these animals that can easily take over. I had no idea that a wild sow (a Mama pig) could be the generator of up to 1000 offspring, her female gilts, their gilts, and so on, in a lifetime. You can imagine the education I got. This fella worked for the federal government, and he knew his stuff.
Another thing he knew was cooking. Yes, we talked about cooking wild boar. I ate some of the most divine bolognese I’d ever had in Italy, and it was wild boar I told him. The cooking subject migrated to Cajun cooking, and he started pulling up recipes from his cell phone for everything from oyster soup to grits, and, yes, creole! When I asked him if there was a ‘substitute’ for the seasoning, which in most all his recipes was Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning, he turned his head as if to ponder, looked down for a second as if really thinking, then turned to me and said in a long drawl, ‘There ain’t no substitute.’ I chuckled inside. OK, then Ton Chachere it is!
This flounder creole recipe definitely has a story behind it. It’s inspired by the love of food that comes from two fellas behind the scenes, my precious Ben and this total stranger, Steve, who shared with me their love affair with Mother Nature. Now I’m sharing this glorious recipe with you. Yes, you’ve heard of shrimp creole, which I’d eaten just the day before at the ‘blessing of the inlet’, yet, another inspiration, and we’re twisting up this classic making it a flounder creole!
- 1 cup Delta Blues rice
- 1 tsp. creole seasoning
- 3 Tbl. butter, divided
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. coarse ground pepper
- ½ tsp. red chili flakes
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth + 1 ½ cups water
- RICE SEASONING:
- 1 Tbl. garlic, minced
- ¼ cup onions, diced
- 1 cup celery, sliced
- 1 (10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilis
- 1 to 1 ½ lb. flounder fliets, about 4-5
- ¾ tsp. creole seasoning
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- RICE: In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, creole seasoning, two tablespoons of butter, salt, pepper, chili flakes, chicken broth and water. Blend. Cover with a plate. Microwave on high for 22 minutes. Remove, fluff rice with a fork. Recover and let the rice sit about 30 minutes fluffing two or three more times.
- RICE SEASONING: While rice is microwaving, prepare the rice mixture. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining butter, add the garlic, onions and celery and sauté about 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, reduce heat to low, cover and let it simmer while the rice cooks.
- Add the rice seasoning to the rice, toss and blend well.
- FLOUNDER: Turn oven broiler on and have the rack about 10” from it. Put the flounder filets on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
- Sprinkle with creole seasoning and salt. Put under the broiler for about 10 minutes. Move the rack about 5 inches from the broiler and cook another 2 minutes.
- Remove, cover loosely with foil tucking around the cookie sheet. Let the flounder steam about 5-7 minutes.
- Flounder can be placed whole atop the mound of rice, flaked into chunks and put on top. Or it can be incorporated into the rice.
If you can't find flounder, you can use any other kind of mild white fish-cod, grouper, catfish, red snapper, crocker, haddock, halibut.