Tongue Fish

At the moment, I’m particularly enamoured with glossa – Greek γλώσσα. The Greek literally means ‘tongue’ – which is the English I usually get if I just type in γλώσσα into the translation app on my phone. For this sort of thing, my handy database designed just for Mediterranean seafood (which I posted about previously) makes more sense. It tells me that glossa is a European flatfish that is commonly known as plaice.

Since I’ve been buying a lot of this fish lately, I’ve been pondering this name business. I suspect that glossa is called this in Greek because of its shape – long and flat like a tongue. There must be a name for this phenomenon – a visual equivalent to onomatopoeia (i.e. words formed on the basis of its referring sound, like ‘cuckoo’). The word, however, seems to be eluding me.

A week or so ago, I used glossa when making psari plaki – a vegetable laden baked fish. Here, I’ve come up with another baked fish recipe using glossa. This time, one recipe element is variation of a common Greek ingredient – avgolemono, an egg and lemon sauce. When the sauce is made very thick, it is much like a lemon béchamel without the dairy. As a topping, it keeps the fish moist.

Baked Plaice with Avgolemono
I expect it would work equally well with tilapia or other thin white fish fillets.

  • 1 plaice fillet per person
  • 3 lemons for about 80-90ml lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 1 heaped Tablespoon corn starch
  • Toasted bread crumbs, preferably from brown bread
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive oil

First make your avgolemono sauce by juicing your lemons and putting the juice in a mixing bowl. Mix the cornstarch with the juice and whisk until smooth. There should not be any clumps of corn starch. Add the eggs and whisk again until smooth. Heat your stock in a pot and add it to the lemon-egg mixture, a little at a time until all of it is added. This prevents the sauce from becoming scrambled eggs with lemon when you put the liquid back into the pot and heat on medium heat. Let it slowly come to a boil, turning down the heat a little, stirring and whisking to keep the mixture from forming clumps. Keep cooking until it is very thick, the consistency of custard. Turn off the heat and put the avgolemono sauce into a bowl and let it cool. Adjust the flavour with a little salt if needed. It will continue to thicken as it cools and should be thick, creamy and tart. It makes enough for about 6 fillets.

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C (about 325 degrees F).

Prepare your fish by rinsing and patting the fillets to dry with a paper towel. Place them in a baking tray lined with foil or baking parchment that has been greased with a little olive oil. Sprinkle the fillets with a little salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the fish so that it is just covered. You may not need all of the sauce which can be refrigerated and used up within a week; it is equally good with chicken.

Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Place in oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Place on a bead of rice and serve.


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