{recipe} Flounder with Spring Artichoke Hearts & Capers

May 7, 2010

I love artichokes, but damn they are a lot of work! That’s why I’ve saved this recipe for Friday. Definitely a do-it-over-the-weekend dish, at least if you plan on using fresh artichokes, as I did.

I’d say that it took me about 30 minutes while alone with both kids to clean the 4 artichokes that I used in this recipe. Not so bad for a weekend dish, especially if you’ll have someone else around to keep an eye on the kiddos. And, though opening a can is a million times easier, I promise that using fresh artichokes makes a world of difference. The taste, the texture—it’s just all way more satisfying.

Though timely, extracting a fresh artichoke heart is easier than you might think. There are a ton of how-to’s online. I think this one is clear and straightforward.

I wanted to use my fresh artichoke hearts, for which I worked so hard, in a simple, Spring-y dish flavored primarily by lemon and butter, my favorite artichoke accompaniments. This simple fish dish did the job. I served it along side jasmine rice mixed with spinach sauteed in the same pan as the fish, making this a one pan (plus rice cooker) meal. (Once I removed the cooked fish and artichokes from the pan, I deglazed it with a very small amount of wine—you can use broth—added a light drizzle of olive oil and garlic, then, once the garlic became fragrant, added the spinach.)

I hope you find time to make this—or another favorite artichoke dish—this weekend. The peak of artichoke season is coming to an end. It’s a good time to savor them. Or, on second thought, if you’re a Hungry Mama, maybe you should wait to make this next weekend. Instead, spend this weekend with your feet up, taking it easy. You deserve it! Happy Mother’s Day! xo

Flounder with Spring Artichoke Hearts & Capers
serves 3-4
(can be served to kids 8+ mos)*

3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
4 fresh artichoke hearts, quartered
1/4 c white wine (optional)
2/3 c chicken or vegetable broth (you may need more if you skip the wine)
juice of 1 1/2 fresh lemons
3-4 fillets of flounder
2 Tbsp capers

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and saute until translucent. Add artichoke hearts and saute for 5 more minutes, until they soften on the outside.

2. Add white wine; cook off completely before adding broth. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until all of the liquid cooks off.

3. Uncover and add juice of 1/2 a lemon; cook off, about 3 minutes. At this point, you should be able to poke through the artichokes. Add remaining tablespoon of butter. When it melts, swirl making sure that the entire bottom of the pan is coated. Add fish fillets.

4. Cook fish about 2 minutes on one side before flipping to the other. Continue cooking until opaque and cooked through. Remove fillets from pan.

5. Add capers to pan. Finish with juice of remaining lemon. Give a good stir to incorporate lemon juice, capers and artichokes. Remove from heat and pour artichokes and sauce over the fish fillets.

*Note: Some still recommend holding off on citrus until 12+ mos. Since lemon is such a central part of this dish, if you plan on holding off on citrus for your little on, I’d suggest waiting to share this until they are 12+ mos. There are really no adequate substitutions.

6 Responses

  1. DailyChef says:

    I’ve been looking to eat more fish, so this is a very timely recipe for me! The artichokes look wonderful.

  2. One Hungry Mama says:

    I’m so glad. They were tasty. In fact, as I was cooking, I said to the Hungry Papa that I wasn’t sure fresh artichokes were worth it. I was doubting. Then we ate and I realized that, under the right circumstances, 30 minutes or so of prep was TOTALLY worth it. So delicious.

  3. Olive oil says:

    Absolutely terrific recipe! I liked it so much that I forwarded your URL address to several friends. I noticed you use “fresh” lemons instead of lemon juice. Where I live we don’t have easy access to fresh lemons, so what I do is just go online (http://www.buy-lemons-online.com/ ) and order from growers that pick them right off the trees and ship them direct — a tip I learned from my cousin in Minnesota. This way I get fresh lemons picked from the tree without all the time sitting in cartons, trucks and warehouses. I was wondering, what do you think of using sweet Meyer lemons for your recipe? Do you think it would work?

  4. One Hungry Mama says:

    Thanks! I had no idea that fresh lemons were hard to get some places. Who knew. Great tip for others.

    As for using Meyer lemons–I think it would work. They aren’t so sweet that it would throw this dish off and meyer lemon plus butter sounds gooood! If you try it, report back.

  5. I noticed you used olive oil in this recipe. Is there any difference in the health properties of olive oil vs. extra virgin olive oil? I came across this quote by Nicholas Perricone that I found at http://www.buy-extra-virgin-olive-oil.com I was wondering what you thought about it and whether you recommend olive oil or extra virgin olive oil.

    “Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods in existence. Though I cannot promise you an equally long life span [as the olive tree’s life span], I can assure you that you will look younger, think more clearly, be more active and, yes, extend your life if you incorporate extra virgin olive oil into your diet on a daily basis.”
    Thanks a million for your advice,
    Cathy Oxnard

  6. One Hungry Mama says:

    that’s a great question! i know that the more “virgin” an olive oil is, the less processed it is. so, for example, “extra virgin” olive oil comes from the first pressing. i’d think that, as with most foods, the less processed the better. i did a little digging and, as it turns out, my hunch is correct. “extra virgin” is best for you, with “virgin” being next best followed by regular old olive oil. Here’s a quick explanation from the Mayo Clinic site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/AN01037 and another one from World’s Healthiest Foods: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=132.

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