november 7, 2014
Living close to the Chesapeake Bay means access to fresh seafood all year long and when the flounder are running, go with the flow and thank your lucky stars.
I have learned through my seafood purveyors that Virginia places limits on local rockfish and flounder catches. This is one rule I suffer without complaint. Stocks can be depleted rapidly unless fishermen respect state regulations. Less now means more later, I say.
On the menus for The Good Eats Company, I don’t always specify the type of fish for entrees, since I choose what is fresh (and hopefully local) the morning of a client cook date. For several weeks, the seafood shop has carried fat, sweet fleshed flounder and I am happy as the proverbial clam. Flounder is a favored fish because of its tender flesh and mild taste, making it the perfect canvas for sauces both assertive and mellow. Clients are pleased, too, with entrees like lemon parmesan caesar roasted flounder and flounder with kale, fingerling potato and spanish chorizo.
A recent lunch with Kelly Walker of Chocolates by Kelly inspired me to pair her addictive chocolate balsamic vinegar with pan seared flounder and roasted seasonal vegetables.
Here is the recipe and I hope you, too, can net some flounder while the time is right.
flounder with balsamic fall vegetables
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
8 ounces fresh brussels sprouts, halved
one half small delicata squash, cut into ½ inch slices
one small sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
one large shallot , cut into eighths
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chocolate balsamic vinegar – I like Chocolates by Kelly *
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
fine sea salt
finely ground white or black pepper
4 flounder filets (skinless and boneless), about 4 ounces each
2 tablespoons GF or all purpose flour
2-3 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed
* may also use regular balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- On large baking sheet, toss vegetables with olive oil and a good sprinkling of kosher salt.
- Roast (with brussels sprouts cut side down) until tender, about 15-17 minutes; tent with foil to keep warm while fish is prepared.
- In small saucepan, melt butter with a pinch of sea salt, add chocolate balsamic vinegar, whisking until emulsified, and keep warm at lowest setting.
- Add neutral oil to large nonstick skillet and heat at medium high until oil shimmers.
- Lightly season fish with sea salt and pepper; dredge lightly in flour and shake off excess.
- Place fish in hot oil and cook about two minutes per side for thin filets, or until fish just flakes easily with fork.
- To plate, divide roasted vegetables among four plates (consider piling atop heated side like polenta as shown, or rice, or potatoes), top with seared fish and drizzle whisked buttered balsamic vinegar atop all.
- Serve immediately.