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Tantalizing tarragon perks up fish fillets

Thursday, August 30, 2001

By Nancy Anderson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

When Gary Gates graduated from Carnegie Mellon University last August and headed off to Washington, D.C., with his doctorate tucked under his arm, we thought we'd lost a talented Countdown to Dinner contributor.

 

His easy, creative recipes for Baked Stuffed Trout, Chicken Dijon, Balsamic Pork with Apples and Shrimp Potato Salad had a gourmet touch and taste that brought praise from the testers on the staff.

Imagine our surprise when an e-mail popped up: "and you thought you were rid of me ... "

We're glad to say Gary's b-a-a-a-c k -- with another great recipe -- Shrimp-Stuffed Flounder Rolls.

Like his other entrees, this recipe just evolved.

"I was at the store and the flounder looked good," he said from his office at The Urban Institute. "I had some shrimp at home and tarragon growing on my veranda. The anisey/licorice flavor of tarragon goes well with shrimp."

He was right. Nestled inside the tender, mild-tasting flounder, the tarragon-flavored shrimp gave a gourmet slant to the dish.

It was ready in 25 minutes and looked elegant, thanks to the toasted bread crumbs and toothpick.

Gary serves the flounder rolls with broccoli, corn on the cob and sliced fresh tomatoes with mozzarella and some basil "thrown on it."

The Johnstown native says he loves the D.C. area for its restaurants and abundant steamed Maryland crabs.

Gary works in the Population Studies Center of The Urban Institute, which he describes as a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank. "Yes, I get paid to sit around and think," he laughs.

His apartment in Bethesda, Md., abuts Rock Creek Park, an area with bike and walking trails.

"I can ride all the way into D.C.," said the 39-year-old bike enthusiast, who used to ride in Frick Park.

Being a faithful Pittsburgher, he came home to see the new baseball stadium ("beautiful") and take in a Pirates game ("they lost").

He'll be back Sept. 8 to speak at a PUMP (Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project) conference.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

SHRIMP-STUFFED FLOUNDER ROLLS

2 fillets flounder or sole
4 large shrimp
1 tablespoon fresh tar- ragon -- thyme would work well also
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs, plain or seasoned
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use 1/2 tablespoon of butter to grease a small baking dish -- using foil makes cleanup easier.

Peel and devein shrimp and cut into thirds. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small pan and add shrimp pieces and tarragon. Saute for 5 minutes. Add remaining butter and, when melted, add bread crumbs (we used seasoned and only 1/3 cup, which was ample). Stir to coat shrimp.

Salt and pepper the fish fillets to taste. Place half of the bread crumb-coated shrimp pieces on each of the fillets and roll up jellyroll fashion.

Fasten with a toothpick. Sprinkle any remaining bread crumb mixture on the top of the fish rolls. Place in the baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Serves two but can easily be doubled or tripled.

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