What is Provence? When you hear the word, do you think of the South of France, and olives, lavender and sunflowers? I certainly do, as well as a slower of pace of life, and delicate seafood feasts at cafes. Which brings me to “Provencal” as in “Fluke Provencal”.
Jim B's Fluke Provencal
Delicate fillets of fluke (in the cod family) simmered with fresh tomatoes, olives, capers and wine. I had my first fluke and my first “Provencal” in the Hamptons last week and came home with an unbelievable hunger for more. Well the local Schnuckie Man didn’t have fluke, but they did have some very fresh tilapia fillets so I bought a little over a pound – 4 fillets.
First you make the sauce: In a large skillet and into a bit of olive oil sweat some shallots (2 or 3 small ones) with a tablespoon of dried Herbs de Provence (My big ol’ jar of Herbs de Provence” came from Janet, a souvenier from her trip to France earlier this year!). While the onions were sweating I went out to the garden and gathered tomatoes, oregano, lavender, basil and thyme. I also picked a jalapeno, an Italian hot finger-pepper, a Serrano chili and a sweet banana pepper. I cut each pepper into a different shape (to identify later when I was eating them) and added them with inch thick chunks of tomatoes (about 3 medium sized) to the sweating onions. Cooked them for a minute then added about a half cup of the fresh herbs, finely diced. Then a cup or perhaps a bit less of white wine and about 3/4 cup of Kalamata olives, halved. Simmered it for about 5 minutes then set it aside in a bowl. Rinse and dry the fish fillets, then lay them out on a plate and squeeze half a lemon over them. Cover with saran and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Blot dry with paper towels just before sautéing them. Use the same pan, just wipe it out and add a tablespoon or two or olive oil – add the fish to the hot oil. When the edges of the fillets were white, I flipped them and poured over the reserved sauce, spreading all the ingredients around well. Only took about 3 minutes each side on the fish. Just before serving, add a couple tablespoons of rinsed capers and another quarter cup of the fresh herbs. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil when serving. The peppers were a wonderful addition to the dish, not hot to bite into but a lingering heat . . . yum yum yum we love hot peppers around here!
Tilapia Provencal with Garden Peppers
And sunflowers! Back to Sunflowers! One more week of the Walter Knoll Florist wholesale sunflower bunch special – 5 stems for $7.50 as well as many of our sunflower bouquets are at special pricing!!