Thursday, April 27, 2023

Stuffed Fluke Rollups

I'm just back from Sicily where I ate fish almost every day (sometimes twice a day) but I also indulged in too many pastas, prosciutto and pastries. The scale doesn't lie and it told me I gained six pounds in the three weeks I was gone. The older I get, it seems the harder it is to lose weight, despite all the walking I did on my trip -- most days at least 12,000 steps and one day even 21,000 steps (or 7 miles)! It's all about what goes in the mouth, and I'm paying for it now, but I don't regret one cannolo or plate of busiate. But I need to do a detox or I'll look like a cannolo myself.

This fish dish is healthy, easy to prepare, tastes great and is pretty low-cal too. If you want to make it for company, you can prepare it ahead of time and bake at the last minute, while you enjoy a cocktail with your guests. The recipe is for two people, but it easily doubles or triples to feed more. I live in New Jersey where locally caught flounder or fluke is easy to find. This would also be delicious with sole or snapper. The shrimp I buy are wild-caught too, from U.S. waters. I'm very skeptical of quality control in shrimp or any fish (frozen or otherwise) that comes from Asia, so I typically seek out only wild caught seafood from the U.S.

Season the filets with salt, pepper and paprika and place the filling at one end. Roll up the pieces and keep the open end on the bottom.

Place them in a casserole lined with lemon slices, then sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika and minced parsley on top. Place a few pats of butter on top, but don't overdo it. For this recipe of three pieces, I used only a tablespoon of butter. Pour the wine around the fish and bake, covered with aluminum foil until it flakes easily. If you make this ahead of time, be sure to remove from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, or you'll need to bake it longer in the oven.

I always like to serve rice with a dish like this, to sop up some of the flavorful juices. I've gotten quite partial to brown rice over the years, not just for its nutritional advantages, but also its nutty taste.

The three pieces, weighing less than a pound, were more than enough for the two of us, when served with the rice and snow peas. Any green vegetable, like broccoli, green beans or spinach, would also pair well with this dish.

Check out Ciao Chow Linda on Instagram here to find out what’s cooking in my kitchen each day (and more).

Stuffed Fluke Rollups

Printable Recipe Here


3 pieces of fluke or flounder filet (all three pieces weighed about 3/4 lb.)

4 or 5 medium size uncooked wild caught shrimp, cut into pieces

3 thick slices of firm Italian or French bread, trimmed of crusts and cut into pieces

1 egg, beaten (but only use half the egg)

1 medium size shallot, minced

1 small piece of celery, finely diced

minced parsley

salt, pepper to taste


2 tbsps. of butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

white wine to pour around fish (about 1/2 cup)


Place the olive oil and one tablespoon butter in a saucepan and cook the shallots and celery on low heat until they are transparent.

Place the bread in a bowl with the shrimp and the sauteed vegetables.

Add the seasoning (salt and pepper) and the parsley.

Pour in about 1/2 the beaten egg and mix with your hands.

It should stick together somewhat.

If not, add more egg.

Dry each fish filet and season with salt and pepper.

Divide the filling mixture evenly and place at one end of the filet.

Roll up the filet and place in a casserole lined with lemon slices.

Season the top of the filets with salt, pepper and paprika, and place a tbsp of butter on top, dividing among the three pieces.

Pour the wine around the fish.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake aat 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Spinach Sformato

 Spring is finally here and that means a return to all the leafy green vegetables associated with the changing season -- including spinach. This recipe takes the humble spinach up a few notches, and would make the perfect first course to your Easter or Passover meal. Plus it can be made ahead of time (actually it's easier to unmold if you do make it ahead of time).

I used two boxes of frozen spinach, but you could substitute fresh spinach if you prefer. The sformati get baked in small ramekins in a bain marie (water bath) to ensure even cooking. This recipe makes anywhere from six to eight servings, depending on how high you fill the ramekins

I like to bake them ahead of time, chill them (overnight is fine) then reheat in the microwave until warm, and flip them out. Serve them with an irresistible fontina cream sauce that's a cinch to make, then top with toasted pine nuts. Dig into this luscious morsel of springtime.

 Check out Ciao Chow Linda on Instagram here to find out what’s cooking in my kitchen each day (and more).

Spinach Sformato

(eight 1/2 cup serving)
2 boxes frozen spinach, thawed
2 cups milk or a combination of milk and cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter, plus more for greasing molds
1/4 cup flour plus 2 T.
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt, white pepper, to taste
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded fontina cheese
optional: toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Thaw the boxes of spinach in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove the paper from the boxes of spinach, and squeeze as much water out of it using your hands.
Butter seven or eight 3/4 cup oven-proof custard cups or flan molds and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the squeezed spinach between paper towels and squeeze more water from it.
Chop the spinach finely in a food processor.
Heat the milk in a saucepan until warm and little bubble start to form.
In another saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, then add the flour and stir and cook for a couple of minutes until smooth.
It will start to get “pasty,” but that’s fine.
Add the milk and continue to stir constantly, using either a whisk or wooden spoon, for about five minutes.
Let the mixture cool slightly, then add to the spinach in the food processor and whir until everything is well blended and pureed.
Beat the eggs and add the parmesan cheese.
Add the eggs and parmesan cheese mixture to the spinach mixture in the food processor and whir until everything is mixed.
Pour into the buttered molds and put the molds in a bain-marie or hot water bath.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the sformati are puffed slightly and feel just firm to the touch.
Remove the molds from the water and let them rest for a few minutes minutes before trying to unmold.
If you unmold too soon, they won’t hold their shape.
They actually hold their shape better the next day when you reheat them.
I reheated them by microwaving them in their molds, then flipped them out onto individual plates.
Place the heavy cream in a saucepan, and reduce until it coats the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat, add the fontina and stir.
Spoon the fontina cream sauce around the spinach sformati.
Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts to serve.