The Gastronomer has always been a seafood lover. Recently, however, she has begun to feel that the fish she consumes simply must be raw. Cooked fish is largely flavorless, she complains (crustaceans excepted), and she refuses to order it at restaurants. Fortunately, she is a bit more flexible in the home; when I feel inspired to fry up a simple white fish preparation, she consumes it with a smile. This flounder recipe gets most of its flavor from capers, a fascinating piece of vegetation whose culinary value I have only started to appreciate in the past year.
I found it difficult to keep the flour from falling off the fish when flipping it in the pan, so I largely failed to achieve the “golden brown crust” advertised in the recipe. I did, however, manage to cook the fish through without drying it out, and the final product formed a tasty meal served alongside my curried couscous.
Recipe by The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
- 4 large skinless flounder fillets (6 oz each)
- salt and pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and minced (you can use a bit more if you’re a fan of capers)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- salt and pepper
- lemon wedges (for serving)
Pat the flounder fillets dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Let the seasoned fish stand until it glistens with moisture, about 5 minutes [I have a feeling that my sloppiness in these initial steps may explain why the flour didn’t stick to my fish very well]. Spread the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the fish through the flour, shaking off the excess, and transfer to a plate.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and melt. Gently lay 2 fillets in the pan and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn the fish over (it may be helpful to use 2 spatulas), and cook for about 2 more minutes. If your fillets are smaller than 6 ounces, this time may need to be reduced. Transfer the fish to a plate, and if you’re feeling hardcore, put the plate in 200 degree oven so that the fish will stay warm while the rest of the fillets are cooking. Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels and repeat with the remaining oil, butter, and fish.
To make the sauce, wipe the skillet clean, then melt 4 tablespoons of butter in it over medium-high heat. Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan constantly, until it is golden brown and has a nutty aroma, about 90 seconds. Off the heat, stir in the capers, lemon juice, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the fish and serve with lemon wedges.
Yield: 4 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: 30 minutes
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour
Substitutions: The original recipe called for sole instead of flounder.