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Recipe: Crab-Stuffed Flounder

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Photo by Susan L. Ebert.
Photo by Susan L. Ebert.
St. Michaels Crabcake-Inspired Stuffed Flounder

Serves 4
Ingredients:
For the flounder:

  • 1 medium whole flounder (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Sea salt
  • White pepper

For the stuffing:

  • 14 ounces blue crab backfin meat
  • 4 ounces blue crab claw meat
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons organic cane sugar (buzzed in a food processor until fine)
  • 2 teaspoons unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • ½ to ¾ cup Rémoulade (see recipe. page 51), plus more for serving

For baking and serving:

  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅓ Cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare the flounder for stuffing (see below). Season both sides of the flounder with salt and white pepper and place it in a lightly buttered baking dish with the pockets facing up.

Make the stuffing: Toss all the ingredients together gently (clean fingers work best), being careful to not break up the crab lumps. Scoop the stuffing into the flounder pockets. Sprinkle the fish with panko and smoked paprika, and drizzle with butter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish is flaky. Garnish with lemon wedges, parsley, and rémoulade.

To prepare a flounder for stuffing, place it eyes side up—the top of the fish, as flounder lay on their sides—on your fish-cleaning table or cutting board. To scale the fish, hold it firmly with your off hand, and, with a spoon in your working hand, make sweeping motions from tail to head. Turn the fish over and scale the other side.
Turn the fish eyes side up again and use a fillet knife to score through the skin, starting behind the bony skull and continuing behind the gills and down to behind the pectoral fin. When you reach the pectoral fin, turn your knife so that the tip points outward, and cut the skin to the back of the abdominal cavity. Scoop out the entrails.
With your scored line as a guide, use a sharp, heavy knife to remove the head and gills. Rinse the fish thoroughly, and pat dry with paper towels. Place it on a clean cutting board with the top (meatier) side up. Find the backbone at the cut end of the fish, and you will see a faint indentation, called the lateral line, beginning over the top of it and running down to the tail. Use your fillet knife to cut through the flesh to the backbone, all the way down the lateral line.
Now, make pockets on either side of the center cut: Hold the fillet knife blade almost parallel to the backbone, and make gentle sweeping strokes to separate the flesh from the ribcage, down either side of the backbone. Do not cut through the skin where the pockets attach to the dorsal (top) and anal (bottom) fins. Rinse the flounder again, and pat dry with paper towels.

>>Next recipe: prickly pear ice cream with toasted piñons

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