Part of our international week of dinners, we wanted the Italian menu to be something other than pasta so this Baked Rollatini of Flounder entrée fit the bill nicely. Unlike other highly regarded cuisines, Italian cooking is usually simple to make with many dishes having only 4 to 8 ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation. And so it almost is with this simple fish recipe with 10 ingredients—just be sure to have some great olive oil on hand.
“The Sicilians have a tradition of using breadcrumbs in many of their recipes, like involtini di pesce spada, or swordfish rollatini, which are dressed with dried- oregano- seasoned breadcrumbs and olive oil.” — Lidia Bastianich
Despite Lidia’s undisputed reputation as a great Italian chef, there were a few things we did, or will do in the future. For instance, I didn’t feel that half of a sliced lemon was enough to cover the bottom of the baking dish so I very thinly sliced the entire zested lemon to build the foundation, and used half of another lemon for the juice. Plus we found that a full cup of white wine was too much liquid, feeling a 1/2 cup would more than suffice (I noted this in the list below.)
Oops, I’m noticing a few citrus pits I should have removed first, mea culpa!
And while this has nothing to do with Lidia’s choice of fish (her original recipe is Rollatini of Sole), it’s uncommon to find sole at our local supermarkets because here in North America we have no true sole, only flounders. They are interchangeable because both sole and flounder have delicate, flaky flesh and a mild, sweet taste; and while each are oval in shape, flounder is more rounded.
Oh, and the fact that Lidia’s cookbook says this serves six, that would be pretty meager rations in just about anyone’s household. We think two fillets per person is more realistic. Otherwise this delicious, delicate dinner was ever-so-satisfying and light. And in that vein, we served it simply with a side of sautéed asparagus.
Baked Rollatini of Flounder
- 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 large lemon, grated, then half of the lemon juiced, the other half thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 6 skinless fillets of flounder, about 1 1/2 pounds
- 2 tablespoons drained tiny capers in brine
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Toss together the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, parsley, lemon zest, and oregano in a bowl. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, and toss until the crumbs are evenly coated with the oil.
- Coat the bottom of a 9-by-13- inch Pyrex baking dish with the softened butter. Arrange the lemon slices in 1 layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Pour in the lemon juice and white wine.
- Lay the fish on your work surface, and press the crumbs into the fish. Starting with the short side, roll each fillet up with crumbs on the inside, and secure closed with toothpicks.
- Arrange the fish in the baking dish atop the lemon slices, and scatter capers in the open spaces. Sprinkle any leftover crumbs over the fish, and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Place the baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven, and bake until the flounder is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Remove the toothpicks, spoon some of the capers and sauce over the fillets and serve.