When I was a little girl, a single steamed flounder, a plate of vegetables and plenty of rice would feed our family. My parents would allocate me and my sister a flounder roe each. Since flounder come with two roes by default, it was lucky they stopped at two kids. The roe was a treat! The roe itself isn’t a thing of beauty, but I loved biting into it and imagining I was eating thousands of tiny fish at once. If you’re wondering what flounder roe tastes like, I find it mild and slightly creamy with a only hint of fishiness. The fish eggs are tiny – much smaller than other fish roe.
Salmon is my number one fish, but if I must pick a white fish, it’s got to be flounder. I adore flounder but I usually steam or baked it. Flounder has a sweet flavour and a delicate texture. When cooked, it flakes with a little pressure and the large bones make it easy to eat whole. As a kid, my parents never shied away from serve whole fish to us. We were always instructed to eat carefully so we learned to pick bones clean. Whole flounder is cheap here in New Zealand though I’ve been told that in certain areas of Auckland, you could spear them or put out a net and get plenty enough for all your family and friends. These days, the easiest way to get whole flounder is just to buy it from any fish shop. They’re cheap too!
This flounder dish is inspired NZ’s Chef of the Year David Schofield, who made this last month at the Out Standing In Their Fields demonstration at Grey Lynn Farmers’ Markets. The way he dealt to the fins with scissors and peeled the skin off in one piece really made an impression on me. David also makes no secret of his love for butter. Neither do I.
Flounder can be quite delicate especially after the skin is removed so the flour and butter acts as a delicious shield and protects the meat. This recipe is super yum and makes me want to invest in a flounder net.
Buttery Golden Pan-Fried Flounder
Allow 1 medium size flounder per person
A knob of butter
Another knob of butter
1/2 cup of flour sprinkled onto a dinner plate (this is enough flour for several flounder)
- Using sharp kitchen scissors, cut all the fins off the edges of the flounder. Be generous rather than erring on the side of caution. Slice them off!
- On the dark skinned side of the flounder, make a small cut through the skin with a sharp knife at the base of the tail. Prepare a little flap of skin that you can pull. Sprinkle salt generously on the cut. The salt will give you a good grip on the slippery skin and carefully peel the skin away from the fish. The skin should come off in 1 complete piece. Some flesh might start to come up with the skin, If the flesh starts to pull up, stop and use a sharp knife to guide the offending flesh back down.
- Cut the head and tail off the flounder. Remove the liver* if you wish.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper onto the floured plate to make a basic seasoned flour.
- Lay the flounder on the plate of flour and dust liberally on both sides. This will turn golden and crunchy later.
- Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan. Add the flour coated flounder. I found I could comfortably fit 2 fish in my pan. Fry the flounder for about 5 minutes each side on medium heat until golden. Add more butter if you love butter.
- Serve with lemon wedges
* Flounder roe tastes creamy and rich when cooked. It might be high in cholesterol, but you’re not eating a plate of the stuff!
If you like this recipe or have any tips or questions, please leave a comment. It would make my day.