Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fluke Crudo

Now that summer's in full swing, I decided to make a no-cook dish for a dinner party. This is a delightful appetizer that stimulates the appetite.

I was walking through the Union Square Greenmarket, browsing some locally-grown produce when I saw these amazing grapefruits and oranges. They were plump and begging for a nice fish to complement them in a crudo.

I settled on some wild-caught fluke from Whole Foods. At $5.99 a pound, they were as equally affordable as delicious. The fishmonger was also kind enough to descale, gut, and clean the fish for me, and separate the pristine, skinless fillets from the bones and head that I will later use to make fish stock.

The dish came out perfectly; the acidity of the citrus "cooked" the fluke lightly, without muddling or masking the delicate flavor. I added a fine herb mixture of chopped parsley, mint, and basil to enhance the freshness of the dish. I think the only difference I'd make is to add some more spice.

Fluke Crudo (Adapted from Derek Wagner, Nicks on Broadway, Providence, R.I.)

1 pound skinless fillet of sushi-grade fluke, cut into pieces about 1/4 inch by 1 inch by 2 inches
1/2 cup lime juice
3/4 cup lemon oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 shallots, minced
3 fresh Thai chili, sliced razor thin
Salt and black pepper
Inner, light green leaves from 1 bunch celery
18 orange segments (from 2 oranges)
18 grapefruit segments (from 2 grapefruits)
1 1/2 teaspoons capers
1/3 cup coarsely chopped mint
1/3 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/3 cup coarsely chopped basil
6 radishes, sliced thin.

1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the lemon oil, lime juice, and vinegar. Add the chilis, shallots, salt and pepper to taste. Add the fluke, toss gently, and let sit for about 10-15 minutes.

2. Place the celery leaves in the center of six plates and alternate two orange and grapefruit segments around them.

3. Mound the fluke on top of the celery leaves. Spoon the dressing over the fish, sprinkle the capers, herb mixture, and radish slices. Garnish with an orange and grapefruit segment, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Makes 6 servings.

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