Sauger Florentine
by Wayne Phillips

photo-Wayne Phillips
Rolling sauger fillets around a spinach filling makes a very flavorful Mediterranean-style dish.

Ingredients for
four servings:

  • 8 sauger fillets, deboned and skinned.
  • Spinach filling:
    • 1 large package fresh spinach, stems removed and washed.
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced.
    • 1 tsp. lemon zest, finely diced.
    • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.
    • Salt and pepper to taste.

Tarragon mayonnaise sauce:

  • 1/2-cup fresh tarragon leaves or 1 Tbsp. dried.
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice.
  • 1 tsp. olive oil.
  • 1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
Sauger Florentine

Heat olive oil in saute pan. Add garlic, stir and saute lightly, but take care not to let it get dark. Add spinach. Turn spinach over to bring the garlic to the top to prevent garlic from burning. When spinach is wilted, add lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Drain in a colander, reserving liquid. When cool, squeeze as much liquid from the spinach as possible. If using frozen spinach, briefly saute in garlic.

Salt and pepper the sauger fillets. On each fillet, place a thin layer of spinach. Roll the fillet and secure with a toothpick. Place in a baking dish. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid to baking dish. Using the liquid from sauteing the spinach adds nice flavor. You can also use wine or water with lemon juice in it. Bake in a 375-degree oven until fish is opaque, about 15 minutes. Place in a bowl and mix in mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the sauger fillets on a bed of rice or place fillets on a platter and arrange the rice around them. Cooking rice with turmeric turns the rice a lovely golden color. Spoon some sauce over the fillets. Remember to remove the toothpicks before serving.

This sauger dish makes a great appetizer when served warm instead of hot. A single fillet on a bed of shredded lettuce with a tomato wedge looks and tastes wonderful.

Always place your stuffing on the inside (rib side) of the fillet and not on the skin side. Take care not to overcook the rolled fillets or they will fall apart. When the fish turns opaque, it is done. Cooking the fillets with a bit of liquid helps keep them moist.

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January/February 2000 Angler & Boater

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