Summer Fish in February, Olive Oil Poached Fluke Recipe on Leap Day

Thinking about Leap Day (February 29), I was wondering if it should be a day when we take some risks, have a leap of faith.

As it happens only once every 4 years, if this is the only time we get out of our comfort zone, it would not be much.

I was giving a second or maybe third look at The Italian Table (Kyle Books, Fall 2011) by Ron Suhanosky and really liked the feel of the fluke dish in Chapter 4 (Week Ends, Fancier Recipes for Memorable Meals).

So on leap day 2012, I am taking a leap and sharing a summer fish recipe in February. 

Olive oil poached fluke with grated radish and caper vinaigrette

Serves 4 to 6 

2 cups olive oil

3 pounds fluke fillets, folded into 3-inch “rolls”

1⁄2 medium Spanish onion, sliced 1-inch thick

2 fresh sage sprigs, leaves only

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1⁄2 cup capers, rinsed and drained

1 shallot, thinly sliced

2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only

juice of 1 lemon

6 radishes, washed, trimmed, and grated (medium)


Fluke, a member of the flounder family, is also known as summer flounder due to the fact that it spawns in deep ocean waters in the early spring, then moves closer to land to feed as the spring and summer progress. It’s one of the most popular mild, delicate, white-fleshed fish among commercial and recreational fishermen up and down the East Coast of North America. Freshly caught fluke is one of the many seafood treats we enjoy throughout the summer months on Nantucket. The challenge, as with all fish of this nature, is to find ways to cook it so as to preserve its subtle textures and flavors. Poaching the fish in olive oil is among the best solutions—clean, simple, and guaranteed not to dry out. For me, it makes the ideal light antipasto for a warm-weather gathering. You can also apply this recipe to other white-fleshed seafood such as skate wing or trout.

I n g r e d i e n t  N o t e : For poaching, be sure to use a light, pure olive oil, not the heavier, spicier, green extra virgin type used to dress salads.

1. Place the olive oil in a shallow 12-inch sauté pan. Add the fluke, onions, sage, salt, and pepper. Bring the oil up to a simmer over medium heat, then simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside, leaving the fluke in the oil in the pan.

2. Place the capers, shallots, thyme, 1/2 cup of the olive oil from the pan, and the lemon juice in a blender. Blend at medium speed for 2 minutes to make a dressing with a chunky consistency.

3. Transfer the fluke and onions from the pan to a platter, discarding the oil. Place about 1 tablespoon of the caper dressing on top of each fillet, garnish with the grated radish, and serve.

(* Recipe from The Italian Table by Ron Suhanovsky-published by Kyle Books, Fall 2011- all rights reserved, Photo by Alberto Peroli)

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