1 finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons large capers, finely chopped
finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
3 tablespoons chopped chives, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon dill (optional)
2 tablespoons white wine or Champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10-12 (around 500g) small gourmet potatoes
1-2 tablespoons butter
2 fresh flounder, gutted and cleaned
olive oil
240g butter
2-3 sprigs fresh lemon verbena (or you can use lemon balm)
1 tablespoon Champagne or white wine vinegar
40g small capers

This is my current take on fish and chips. Not that I don’t love a solid salty seaside feed, with its white and sloppy vinegar-soaked, battered fillet edges and handfuls of crinkle chips (not straight cuts) if you’re lucky.

Flounder is one of the best species to enjoy whole as the bones lift easily away making eating it hardly hazardous at all, so my kids have little excuse not to eat it.

This recipe was born when the last of my lemons were snaffled into gins and my citrus garden lay bare – all lemon flavour was gone except for a couple of verbena shrubs wafting their lemony scent about like some wanton Parisian trollop flicking her hair. Desperate in my need for beloved lemony flavours, I tore off a couple of sprigs and into my beurre de noisette the verbena went. Behold, my lovely herbaceous summer flounder dish.


If you’re out camping, feel free to pan fry the flounder (2-3 minutes in a hot pan each side) but I prefer to nail a few at a time by baking in the oven, making it far easier to feed my ravenous crew tout de suite.

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2.First prepare the herby dressing for the spuds.
3.In a small bowl, combine the chopped shallot, capers, zest, chives, dill if using and the vinegar. Stir to combine. Season and add olive oil to taste. Set aside.
4.Heat oven to 200°C fan bake.
5.Put the potatoes on a lined baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season.
6.Bake for around 20 minutes, until golden and softened.
7.Remove from the oven. Use a large wooden spoon to punch them, splitting them to reveal some creamy flesh (depending on the day I may use my fist).
8.Drizzle the broken spuds with a little more olive oil, add a knob of butter here and there.
9.Increase the heat to 220°C and bake for a further 8-10 minutes until the edges are crispy.
10.Set aside to keep warm while you bake the fish.
11.When ready to serve, dollop the herby dressing over the smashed spuds and sprinkle with extra chopped chives.
13.Lay the flounder on a lined and oiled baking tray.
14.Drizzle the fish with a little olive oil and season.
15.Bake at 200°C fan bake for around 20 minutes until just cooked through (check at around 15 minutes for smaller flounder).
16.Put the butter and verbena sprigs into a small pan over a medium heat.
17.Melt the butter until foaming.
18.Jostle the pan around and when the milk solids begin to caramelise add the vinegar and capers.
19.Swirl the pan while it sizzles to combine flavours and remove from the heat.
20.Pour the verbena butter over the cooked flounder.
21.Serve the fish and potatoes with a good loaf of warm sourdough bread to mop up the herbaceous buttery juices.

Food and recipe styling, photography Fiona Hugues