Since our fig tree is recalcitrant when it comes to producing ripe fruit, I decided to use some of its abundant leaves instead. Did you know that fig leaves are edible? They’re kind of tough to eat without boiling first, but for this kind of recipe, they’re perfect. They keep the fish moist, and impart a delicate flavor to what’s inside. Don’t turn away if you don’t have a fig tree — this recipe can easily be made with Swiss chard (or grape) leaves instead. But if you have a fig tree, or know someone with one, you will love this recipe. It’s easy, it’s delicious, it’s low in calories and it’s good for you to boot. Cut a nice size leaf or two from your tree for each fish filet, and place it on a baking sheet that has been smeared with olive oil. Center the fish filet in the center of the leaf, then season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs. I used a combination of chives, parsley and thyme. Place a couple of lemon slices over the herbs and fish, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Fold the leaves over the fish, overlapping them to hold them in place. If you have a gap where the fish shows through, cut up another leaf and cover the space. Flip the entire leaf-wrapped fish over, so that the flaps are on the underside.
After 15 minutes in the oven, it will look something like this:
Using a long spatula, carefully flip the package of fish and leaves back over so that when you place it on your plate, you’ll be able to peel back the leaf easily and reveal the fish. The lemon will have softened enough that just pressing gently with a fork will release the remaining lemon juice onto the fish. Then bite into and enjoy a very moist, delicious piece of flounder.
If I can’t enjoy a bounty of figs from my tree, at least I can make use of some of those beautiful leaves.
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- Flounder (or salmon or snapper) (1 filet per person)
- fig leaves (1 or 2 large fig leaves per portion)
- olive oil to drizzle
- salt, pepper
- fresh herbs (I used a combination of chives, thyme and parsley)
- lemon slices
- Rinse the fig leaves.
- Spread a little olive oil on a cookie sheet.
- Lay the fig leaf down, then place a filet of fish on top.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper, the minced herbs, then drizzle a little olive oil on top of the fish.
- Lay a couple of slices of lemon over the fish.
- Close the fig leaf over the fish, then flip it over so that the flaps are on the bottom.
- If some of the fish is uncovered, but up another fig leaf and wrap around the exposed parts.
- Bake in a 375 degree over for 25 minutes.
- Serve immediately with the fig leaves, allowing each person to unwrap the leaves.