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Flounder and Shrimp with Spicy Coconut-Lemon Sauce

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There are so many nuances of flavors in this dish: spicy from the habanero chili peppers; richness from the coconut milk; citrusy from the lemon confit. The herbs bring a little bit of freshness but also a pungent touch. The buttery texture of the flounder and the sweetness of the shrimp found some great companions in this recipe.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ habanero chili pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon confit (preserved lemons,) grated*
  • 6 flounder fillets (1 ¼ pounds)
  • 1 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 6 cups cooked jasmine rice
  • 2 cups arugula
  • ½ cup chives

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium high heat and cook the onions and habanero peppers for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 4 minutes, or until soft. Sprinkle with the sugar and stir in the coconut milk and heavy cream. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a light boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 to 15 minutes or until sauce is slightly thicker. Turn off the heat and fold in lemon zest. Set aside.

Place flounder fillets on a large baking pan coated with 1 tablespoon of oil. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove from oven and set aside. Cover with foil to keep warm.

In a medium skillet, heat the remaining oil until smoking and sauté the shrimp until it starts to curls and it turns pink on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

On individual plates, assemble the dish in layers:

  1. One cup of rice on the bottom
  2. One flounder fillet
  3. 5 to 6 shrimps
  4. ¼ cup sauce
  5. Top with ¼ cup arugula and 1 tablespoon chives

Serve it immediately.

Notes:

*Lemon Confit is simply preserved lemons. The name sounds fancy, but the process is real simple (although it is time consuming.) This process is used to enhance the flavor of the lemon. Click here for the method I used. If patience is not among your virtues you can replace the lemon confit zest for fresh lemon zest: add 2 extra tablespoons of fresh lemon zest and ½ teaspoon salt. I recommend you try to make your own lemon confit, just because it is fun and you can use it in many different ways!

I created this dish while spending time with our family in Marco Island, Florida, because I wanted to show appreciation to our amazing hostess Aunt Cathie (who was treating us with wonderful dinners every night, along with Uncle Steve and Grandma Shauna.) The beautiful white sand and the blue ocean waters from the Golf inspired me to cook seafood, of course… There is nothing like getting fresh seafood right by the sea… Just delicious!

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 The amazing views from the Millers penthouse.

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Aunt Cathie and I enjoyind the sunset in Marco Island.

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There are hundreds of thousands of shells in Marco Island. Sebastian loved to play the game "Throw-the-shell-in-the-ocean" with Mommy :)

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Jumping waves with Gaga (aka Daddy.)

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