Recipe of the week
Parmesan-crusted flounder: A restaurant dish in minutes
When sautéing a thin fish fillet, “there are several tricks to achieving that lightly crispy exterior and moist interior you’re after,” said chef Tenney Flynn in The Deep End of Flavor (Gibbs Smith). At my New Orleans restaurant, GW Fins, we dredge flounder fillets in very finely grated Parmesan before dropping the fish in a pan. It’s “an easy way to add extra flavor and crunch without a bunch of extra ingredients.”
The recipe below will also work for snapper, trout, or sheepshead fillets—whichever’s freshest at the market. Be sure to use a seasoned cast-iron skillet. And if you wish to skip the crabmeat, you can.
Recipe of the week
Parmesan-crusted flounder with brown butter, asparagus, capers, and crabmeat
3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1 tbsp capers, drained
6 large spears asparagus, bottom third peeled
2 (5- to 6-oz) flounder fillets
Vegetable oil spray
½ cup very finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp salted butter
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp minced parsley
4 oz jumbo lump crabmeat, picked through
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add capers; fry for a few seconds, just until buds are open and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and prepare a large container of ice water. Add asparagus to boiling water; boil until tender-crisp but not limp, about 3 minutes. Remove with tongs (keep water hot for reheating) and plunge in ice bath. Drain on paper towels.
Place a cast-iron skillet large enough to accommodate both fillets on medium heat. Coat the fillets liberally with vegetable oil spray. Spread Parmesan on a plate and dredge skinless (or rounded) side of fillets in it, coating well.
Add remaining 2 tbsp oil to hot pan, then place fish, cheese side down, in hot oil. Do not disturb for about 4 minutes. Put about 1 tbsp of the cheese into the skillet, as a test, when fish is added. When you can slide a spatula under that fried cheese medallion, you can carefully loosen the fillets and turn them. A golden-brown cheese crust is what you’re looking for. (Lower heat if browning occurs too quickly.) Cook about 2 minutes on uncoated side.
While fillets cook, return asparagus to the pot of hot water for a minute or so to reheat. Move fillets to a warm plate. Wipe out pan with a paper towel; immediately return it to heat and add butter. When butter is medium brown (take care not to burn), stir in lemon juice, parsley, and crabmeat. Turn off heat.
Using tongs, divide hot, drained asparagus between two heated plates. Place fillets on top of asparagus, spoon brown butter and crabmeat mixture over fish, and sprinkle with fried capers. Serves 2. ■