I have been a pescetarian all my life, thanks to my hippie animal/earth-loving parents. I never found this diet too limiting until J, the now-husband, entered my life and had one request for all of our meals: more protein. Beans and cheese don’t seem to be enough for him, so as a result, over the past 5 1/2 years, I have been trying to incorporate more fish into my cooking routine. It can be really difficult to come up with fresh ideas for fish, though. Especially if you are an adventurous eater with an easily-bored palate, and especially if you are still developing your sea-legs (?) when it comes to cooking things like shellfish.
So when I came across a tahini flounder recipe in the book Aromas of Aleppo, I was intrigued. I love tahini and flounder, and this looked like a fun way of eating fish differently. Plus, as a part-Syrian, one of my resolutions this year was to make more recipes that are representative of my heritage. The best part of this recipe is that it requires ART!
This recipe is great for a weekend lunch, when you want to add a bit of whimsy, or you just want something other than tuna salad and/or smoked fish.
I’ve adapted this for 2-4 people (depending on appetites and what it’s served with). Just add more tahini if you want to have more fish.
1 pound flounder fillets
1/2 cup tahini
Olive oil, salt & pepper for baking the fish
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 black olive
1 vegetable that looks like a fish smile
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place the fish filets on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, and then let cool.
Place fillets in a bowl, use a fork to flake. Add 2-3 tablespoons of tahini (to your liking, and so that the fillet pieces come together). Mold the tahini-flounder salad into the shape of a fish. Spread a layer of tahini on top of the fish, and then place the sliced cucumber on top of that to look like scales. Place olive and mouth-vegetable on the “head.”
Eat plain, or serve with bread (what we did!). Super tasty as a sandwich the next day, too.