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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Caribbean Spiced Flounder in Phyllo Pastry with Tropical Mango Salsa

Yeah.  This one is a little bit "out there," but we had some time on our hands this evening and wanted to try something whimsical and fun. It all started out that I had some fresh tomatoes and jalapenos that we had picked from our little garden, and I wanted to do something interesting with them.
My sweet husband and I have an upcoming dive trip to the Caribbean, and I suppose I'm a little more than ready for the beautiful coral reefs, because that was sort of the "theme" of this whimsy.  I took some Phyllo dough that I had in the freezer and cut it into really thin strips.  I was trying to make an anemone from the strips that the enclose the fish fillets - giving a light, crispy crunchy exterior but keeping the fish moist and tender. The mango salsa is a great accompaniment to Caribbean type spices -  bright and sweet, cool and spicy all at the same time. So have some fun with YOUR food!  Why not?!

Ingredients:
Mango Salsa -
Mangos, diced
Cherry tomatoes, diced
Purple onion, finely diced
Jalapeno, finely diced (maybe only half of one, seeded)
Juice of one large lime
Cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Fish -
Fish fillets of your choice (I had flounder)
salt and pepper 
Caribbean Jerk spice mix
flour
2 eggs
phyllo dough
butter flavored cooking spray
spinach leaves
canola or peanut oil for frying



 Step-by-step
For the salsa - chop everything to the desired size and mix.  It's best to make it a little ahead of time (at least half an hour) so that flavors will have time to marry together.
Tomatoes straight from the vine..

The first jalapeno of the season.

Makings of a salsa.

Mango salsa is the Bomb!  Great on fish, grilled shrimp, etc!

For the fish - Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Take the Phyllo dough out of the freezer to thaw.

Rinse and pat dry the fillets. Cut in half or to the desired size.  Season heavily with salt and pepper and a little Caribbean Jerk spice mix.  

In a bowl, season flour heavily with the Caribbean Jerk spice mix.  In a separate bowl, beat the two eggs.
Mix flour and Caribbean Jerk Seasoning.


Working about two sheets at a time, spray the Phyllo dough with butter flavored cooking spray.  You could use melted butter, but we were going for easy here. I used a totally of maybe 8 sheets?  (didn't count them) Using a pizza cutter, cut the pastry into thin ribbons.  
Butter flavored cooking spray.
Cut into ribbons.
Cut the baby spinach leaves into thin strips as well. Separate and mix together the pastry and the spinach leaves.
Make ribbons from the spinach.
Mix the spinach and pastry ribbons.
Dip the fish into the seasoned flour, then the egg, then cover with the pastry ribbons - patting the pastry ribbons around the fish. Set aside. 
Lightly flour the fish.

Dip into the egg wash.

Cover in the pastry mix.

Here is the fish wrapped up in the pastry ribbons.

Carefully drop the fillets into 350 degrees oil (Canola or Peanut Oil).  Use the handle of a wooden spoon to submerge the fish.  You don't want to use a spatula, or it will flatten the pastry ribbons.  You want them to fry up and out to mimic the look of an anemone.  
We're looking for 350 F.

Careful!!

Submerge with the small end of a wooden spoon.

When golden brown, remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Salt them if you wish as soon as they come out of the oil.  
Here's our pastry anemone.

Drain and salt on paper towels.

Does it look like seaweed and such? :-)

Finish them in the oven on a sheet pan for about 10 minutes.  Serve with the mango salsa and some Caribbean style rice. 
Served on a bed of mango salsa.
The fish is super moist and tender.  Then you get a big crunch from the pastry and the cool bright flavors of the mango salsa!
Mmm.  Tasty!
Written Directions
For the salsa - chop everything to the desired size and mix.  It's best to make it a little ahead of time (at least half an hour) so that flavors will have time to marry together.
For the fish - Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Rinse and pat dry the fillets.  Take the Phyllo dough out of the freezer to thaw. Cut in half or to the desired size.  Season heavily with salt and pepper and a little Caribbean Jerk spice mix.  In a bowl, season flour heavily with the Caribbean Jerk spice mix.  In a separate bowl, beat the two eggs. Working about two sheets at a time, spray the Phyllo dough with butter flavored cooking spray.  You could use melted butter, but we were going for easy here. I used a totally of maybe 8 sheets?  (didn't count them) Using a pizza cutter, cut the pastry into thin ribbons.  Cut the baby spinach leaves into thin strips as well. Separate and mix together the pastry and the spinach leaves.
Dip the fish into the seasoned flour, then the egg, then cover with the pastry ribbons - patting the pastry ribbons around the fish. Set aside. Carefully drop the fillets into 350 degrees oil (Canola or Peanut Oil).  Use the handle of a wooden spoon to submerge the fish.  You don't want to use a spatula, or it will flatten the pastry ribbons.  You want them to fry up and out to mimic the look of an anemone.  When golden brown, remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Salt them if you wish as soon as they come out of the oil.  Finish them in the oven on a sheet pan for about 10 minutes.  Serve with the mango salsa and some Caribbean style rice. 

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