By, Katherine Rossmoore and Better Living through Local Food
There is a saying that goes “If you’re lucky enough to live by the sea, then you’re lucky enough!” While I whole-heartedly agree with these sentiments, I would like to add, “If you’re lucky enough to score some super fresh sole and have access to Thai Basil growing in your garden, then you are lucky enough to make this dish I created.” That said, either the fresh sole or the Thai basil alone is a treat. (The Thai basil pesto is wonderful on buckwheat noodles; the sole is perfect sautéed in olive oil, garlic and lots of lemon.) You can also find Thai basil from Plato’s Harvest farm and other farmers at local farmers’ markets.
A word on the Thai basil plant: the flowers are purple and just a dab, a scent of the plant will land your mind in a Thai kitchen. It’s amazing how much this type of basil, by itself, evokes Thai food. It screams for coconut milk, chili peppers, cilantro, peanuts and Thai yumminess!
The SOSEXI fish is from South Shore Seafood Exchange, a CSA that’s a CSF (community-supported fishery) where you get super-fresh fish on a weekly basis. Here’s the link if you want to sign up for a fall share.
We are so lucky to live in a place that has fresh seafood; unlike the New England farm, the fishing season in not short but the fresh adornments are a bit fleeting, so take advantage now! August is a locavores delight around here.
Fresh Sole with Thai Basil Pesto
or Thai Basil Pesto alone!
For the Pesto:
1 Cup thai basil leaves ( a few stems and flowers are ok too)
3 T peanuts, dry-roasted
1 T agave or honey
1 1/2 T dark sesame oil
1/2 T coconut oil
1/2 T fish sauce, nam pla
1/2 T rice vinegar
1 t (or less) crushed red pepper
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 small handful fresh cilantro
Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until a pesto-like paste is formed.
For the Flounder or sole:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a pan big enough to hold the flounder filets rolled up. I easily fit a pound into one pie dish.
1 pound serves about three people or two super hungry people.
I sautéed some beet greens in a little olive oil with some garlic, coarse salt and lemon juice; once cooked, set aside to cool. You could use spinach nicely here as well.
One-by-one, lay out each sole filet and place about two Tablespoons of the greens in the middle and good dollop of the pesto, roll up and place in a sprayed pyrex pan (I used coconut oil spray from Trader Joe’s) with the seam side down. Continue until all of the filets are used – you might have some pesto left for another idea, please let me know if you come up with delicious and creative uses for it!
Bake for about 20 minutes in the 350 degree oven. Once the fish is flaky, it’s done!