Kingi's yellow belly flounder with capers and curry leaves (Photo: Aaron McLean)

Recipe: Kingi’s yellow belly flounder with capers and curry leaves

Chef Tom Hishon shares a home-cook-friendly recipe for a much-loved staple on the menu at his Auckland restaurant Kingi.

The team from The Spinoff’s food podcast Dietary Requirements joined Tom Hishon in the kitchen at Kingi, his seafood-focused restaurant at the Hotel Britomart, for a lesson in how to cook – and eat – a flounder. See the recipe below for how to whip it up at home, and tune into the podcast for extra tips, banter and butter-sizzling-in-a-pan sound effects.

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  • 1 large flounder (350g-500g)
  • flaky salt 
  • 120g butter 
  • 40g capers
  • 5g (a good handful) curry leaves 
  • 1 lemon 
  • olive oil 

Using a pair of kitchen scissors, trim the skirt of the flounder away and the fins on the tail.  Salt both sides of the flounder with the flaky salt (this step is only necessary if you’re going to cook the fish in a pan – refer to instructions at the bottom for cooking in the oven.)

Heat a large, flat frying pan to a medium-high heat, add a good glug of olive oil to the pan and place the flounder, belly side down, into the hot oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the butter and capers to surround the flounder. Once the butter begins to foam, repeatedly baste the fish with it, using a spoon for about a minute.  

Carefully turn the flounder by pulling the tail up with one hand and using a spatula to release the fish from the pan, then use it to turn the fish. 

Continue cooking over medium heat for 2-3 minutes while basting the fish with the hot foaming butter.

You can now squeeze in the juice from one whole lemon then add a good handful of curry leaves, stirring them into the butter to release their aromatics. Reduce the heat to low and rest the fish for a couple minutes to cook through. 

Spoon the crisp curry leaves and capers on top of the flounder and serve straight from the pan. To serve, cut lengthwise, from tail to head, down the spine. Pull the flesh gently towards yourself and remove from the frame. Repeat on the other side. Once you’ve polished off the first side, lift the tail and let gravity do its thing. The flesh will fall from the bone. If extra assistance is needed, prize from the bone using a flat, blunt knife.

Eat with a good loaf of warm sourdough bread and a cheeky glass or two of chardonnay. 

*If you don’t have a large enough pan, the fish can be roasted in a hot (220°C) oven for 10-12 minutes. The butter, caper and curry leaf sauce can be cooked in a separate pot then spooned over the fish once it’s cooked. 

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