Passover: Please Pass the Flounder


This meal is great year-round, but it works well for Passover, whether served for seder or just during the week as a chametz-free dinner.

The colors in the fish make for a lovely presentation, the dill delivers a fresh, springlike vibe and the celery root offers a different, slightly more exotic take on a mashed vegetable than potatoes or sweet potatoes. For any lower-carb and gluten-free diners, this meal checks the boxes, but for those of us eating without any restrictions, there is no sense of sacrifice. Best of all worlds!

To round out the main course, any spring vegetable like asparagus, string beans, peas, spinach or leafy greens are a fine addition, or perhaps a colorful green salad featuring early spring lettuce, microgreens, sliced radishes and some edible flowers would work?

Because the menu is dairy, a simple dessert of ice cream or sherbet is an ideal finish.

Flounder with Dill, Shallot and Carrots
Serves 4

I used flounder here because it was readily available and fresh at the local farmers market. Virtually any fish works with this dish: Just be sure to monitor the baking time if a thicker, hardier fish is used, as it will need longer in the oven.

As to the quantities below, you should have a sufficient amount of the carrot/shallot/dill mixture to lightly cover the fillets, so depending on the size of your vegetables, you may need 1 or 2.

4 flounder fillets (about 1½ pounds)
Juice of 1 lemon
½ stick butter
1 or 2 shallots, chopped
1 or 2 carrots, sliced
1 bunch dill, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 275 degrees F.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the shallots and carrots until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the dill, and stir until it wilts.

While the vegetables sauté, spritz the fish with half of the lemon, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.

When the vegetables are done, remove them from the heat, scrape them to the side of the pan and place the fillets in the pan in one nonoverlapping layer. Spoon the vegetable mixture over the fish to coat, and spritz it with the remaining lemon half.

Bake the fish in your oven for about 25 minutes until done — it should be opaque throughout and flake easily.

Celery Root Puree
Serves 4

This root vegetable is not common, but in my ongoing quest to attempt to eat locally and seasonally, hardy root vegetables are my go-to these days.

Also known as celeriac, this vegetable has a mild celery flavor and a potato-like texture. In experimenting with celery root, I have discovered that it adds a welcome crunch to salads and slaws if you don’t wish to cook it.

1½ pounds celery root, peeled and cubed
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup cream or milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the celery root, onion, garlic and broth in a pan. Bring it to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer it for 20 minutes or until the cubes are soft.

Drain all but ⅓ cup of broth, then add the butter, cream and seasonings. Either mash it by hand, or use an immersion blender to make a smooth puree.



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