Summer Flounder Crudo

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Photo by Anna Naphtali

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Serves 6

  • 1¼ pounds fresh flounder, skinless and sliced on the bias, about an ⅛ inch thick
  • Chile Paste (recipe follows)
  • 1 Crimson Sweet watermelon (or any sweet, red watermelon), rind removed and seeded, cut into 18 thin slices
  • 18 basil leaves
  • 18 small lemon balm leaves
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

Divide sliced flounder onto chilled plates, about 2 ounces per plate. To assemble, place a few dollops of chili paste between flounder slices, followed by watermelon. Add 3 pieces of each herb and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. 

Chile Paste

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
6 aji dulce peppers, stemmed and roughly chopped (or substitute 1 red bell pepper)
1 red jalapeno, unseeded, stemmed and roughly chopped
2 pinches kosher salt
1 pinch sugar 

1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until a paste forms. Adjust seasoning to taste.
2. If you want a hotter paste, add a little more sugar. The fructose from the sugar binds itself to the capsaicin in the peppers, adding more heat. Contrarily, for a milder heat, remove the seeds from the jalapeno before chopping.

  • From Kyle McKnight, Highland Avenue Restaurant, Hickory, North Carolina

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