Flounder is a flexible, easy-to-prepare fish fillet with a mildly sweet flavor and delicate, flaky texture. Baked, sautéed, stuffed, and poached are options for this firm-fleshed white fish. Flounder is so tasty and easy to come by that it’s even become a Christmas custom in some parts of the South. More fish in your family’s diet has improved health, and Flounder can be used in place of tilapia, grouper, or catfish in your favorite midweek seafood recipe. Let’s go over a few recommendations on buying and preserving flounder fillets before you go out and get some for an easy supper.
Fish can be prepared in a variety of ways for a family meal. Whether you’re craving fish tacos, a fish-and-vegetable skillet dinner, or a fried fish sandwich, Flounder is the fillet to use. Pan-sear flounder fillets and serve your guests in under 40 minutes for a simple yet elegant and spectacular seafood feast.
What is Flounder Fish?
The word flounder refers to a group of fish, specifically flatfish, that includes a variety of species and families, all of which belong to the Pleuronectiformes order. These fish reside at the ocean’s bottom, where they lie flat on their backs with both eyes on one side of their heads (either the left or right, depending on the species). The Flounder is a medium-sized fish weighing anywhere between 5 and 30 pounds.
Flounder is not the name of a single species or even a family of fish but rather a generic term for fish belonging to the Pleuronectiformes order of flatfish. As a result, speaking of flounder types isn’t correct. Nonetheless, the term “flounder” refers to a wide range of fish.
Summer flounder, also known as fluke, winter flounder, lemon sole, and southern Flounder, all of which may be found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of North America, are examples.
Petrale sole and California halibut are both flounders on the Pacific coast. European Flounder, also known as white fluke, Dover sole, lemon sole, petrale sole, yellowfin sole, and Greenland halibut, often known as Greenland turbot, are all Flounder.
How to Cook Flounder?
Many popular species, such as sole, halibut, and Flounder, belong to the flatfish family. However, all boneless fillets are generally interchangeable and can be cooked in the same way, with the cooking time adjusted according to size. These pan-cooked fillets are easy, attractive, and quick.
Flounder with Brown Butter, Lemon, and Tarragon
- 1cup all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1tablespoon olive oil
- 4flounder fillets of equal size, 6 to 8 ounces each
- 3tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1tablespoon lemon juice
- 2tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
- 1teaspoon roughly chopped tarragon
- A few tarragon leaves for garnish
- Lemon wedges
Here are the steps to follow:
Put flour in a low bowl or pie plate and stir in a generous amount of salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne.
Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and tilt the pan to coat the bottom.
- Season the fillets lightly with salt and pepper. Dip each fillet quickly into the flour mixture, shaking off excess flour.
- Arrange the fillets in a single layer in the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place the cooked fish on a heated serving plate.
- Maintain a medium-high heat setting and add chilled butter. Allow the butter to sizzle until bubbly and brown, but not burn. Swirl in the lemon juice, parsley, and chopped tarragon to combine.
- Pour the butter sauce over the fish. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and a few tarragon leaves as garnish.
Best Flavors to Pair with Flounder
The best rule with fresh fish is to keep it basic and avoid over-seasoning. For a great (and quick) option, season with salt and pepper and a touch of lemon. Flunder goes nicely with the following flavors:
What does Flounder Taste Like?
Flounder has a moderate flavor with a subtle sweetness to it, and it has a delicate and fine texture with slight oiliness and dampness. Halibut, tilapia, and branzino are fish with a similar flavor character. Like much other fish, Flounder varies in look and flavor according to its location and species. Because of its soft flesh, the Pacific Dover is considered a lower-quality fish.
On the other hand, yellowtail flounder and petrale sole provide a delicate, firm-fleshed, lean fillet. They are the best food choices, and lemon and gray soles are also excellent eating options. Smaller flounders have delicate flesh, while larger ones have more rigid flesh.
How to Choose Flounder?
When buying fresh fish at the market, use your senses. Is the fillet gleaming? Is there a lot of ice around it? Above all, request to smell everything you purchase. Fish should never have ammonia or fishy odor; instead, they should smell salty and clean, like the sea.
White flaky fish, such as Flounder, should have firm to the, touch fillets. Any fillets with an oily sheen, significant “gapping” in the flesh, or laying in standing water should all be avoided. Here are some points that should be used while choosing Flounder:
- If you can, smell the fish before buying. Although it should smell fishy, the aroma shouldn’t be overwhelming. Pungent fishiness is a sign of old fish.
- The fish should have clear, bright eyes rather than dull, grayish eyes. Its skin should have a shiny, clean appearance, and discolored or patchy-looking skin isn’t a good sign.
- Fresh is best. But it isn’t always easy to source good quality fresh flounder. If you visit your local store and the quality isn’t ideal, you are better to opt for the frozen option.
How to Store Flounder Fillets?
It would help if you stored fresh fish on ice, even in the refrigerator, unless you plan to prepare it the same day you get it home from the market. Inside a container, place a cooling rack––a roasting pan works well. If the rack does not have legs, manufacture aluminum foil balls and set them underneath it at all four corners. Pour broken ice into the pan until it reaches just below the rack but not touching the fish.
Remove the fish from the packing, rinse with cold water, and dry with paper towels. Place the fish on the rack, making sure that no individual pieces touch or overlap and that the fish does not come into contact with the ice. Refrigerate the container after wrapping it in two or three layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Replace the ice as it melts and drains the water if the fish are stored for more than one day.
Flounder vs. Halibut
Because they are flatfish, and halibut is a popular fish, Flounder is frequently likened to halibut. The size of the fish is one of the most significant differences between the two. While a regular flounder may reach a maximum weight of 30 to 40 pounds, halibut can reach weights of 400 pounds or more. Flounder is less substantial than halibut and has a slightly more flaky and delicate feel. Flounder is also fatter than halibut, one of the leanest fish available. However, the Flounder is still lean and does not have a fishy flavor.
Don’t be turned off because Flounder doesn’t seem as appetizing as some of the other fish on the market. It’s a delicate fish with a mild, slightly sweet flavor and no oily mouthfeel. Because Flounder isn’t as rich as salmon, you won’t feel bloated after dinner.
Flounder is frequently served whole and on the bone in restaurants. Due to the bones, eating out may not be the most excellent option for children. On the other hand, a fillet would be excellent for somebody who prefers subtle marine flavors.
If you can find it, wild-caught Flounder is your best bet. If that’s not an option, make friends with a fishmonger to ensure that you obtain tasty, fresh fish. You can cook your flounder fillet with simply oil, salt, and pepper, or your preferred seasoning combination, without using a recipe. Dry the fillet and lay it in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet with a few hot oils, butter, or other fat tablespoons. Only turn the pieces once to get the crispiest side down. Baked or broiled fillets do not require any turning. Slip a small knife under the fish and carefully lift it to check for doneness. When the fillet is thoroughly cooked, it will flake and break open, and the color will change from translucent to opaque.