Easy recipes for the newbie cook, the beginner in the kitchen, the nervous novice: we all had to start somewhere, and you can start right here.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Pan-Fried Flounder: Easy Flatfish Recipe

Pan-Fried Flounder: Easy Flatfish Recipe

As I am in the UK, this recipe refers to the European Flounder which is currently not a threatened species; please check the situation if you are not in Europe and substitute any other sustainable flatfish.

Flounder are a bargain at the fishmongers; along with species such as Dab and Torbay Sole (Megrim), they don’t command the higher prices of other flatfish such as Plaice and Lemon Sole, let alone the premium flatties such as Brill, Dover Sole, Turbot etc.  In flavour, they most resemble Plaice; the species are close enough that they sometimes hybridise, yet Flounder are currently around a third the price.  So, if they are on your fishmonger’s slab, snap ‘em up and give them a try.

Ideally, all fish should be filleted as close to the cooking time as possible.  If you are not confident in your filleting abilities, ask your fishmonger to do it for you, buying on the day you are to cook them.

As I have suggested in the first paragraph, this method of pan-frying is suitable for any flatfish fillets, and indeed works very well for fillets of many round and white fish, such as Mackerel, Herring, Bass etc, as long as they are not too thick, in which case an oven-roasting may be more suitable.

Pan-Fried Flounder Recipe: Ingredients

One or more Flounder or other flatfish fillets per person, depending on their size and your appetite
A little neutral everyday oil for frying
Salt and pepper

Optional (see Cook’s Tip); a little butter or cream.

Pan-Fried Flounder Recipe: Method

Note that the whole cooking process will only take around five minutes: have the rest of your meal, and some warm plates, ready.  Never overcook fish; as soon as it is ready, Dinner is Go!

Put a heavy, preferably non-stick, frying pan that is large enough to take all the fillets in one layer, onto a high heat.  Allow the pan to get quite hot, then shake in a splash of oil; a teaspoon or two, just enough to lubricate the pan.  Place the fish skin-side down into the pan.  Take care, it may spit a little.  Continue to cook on a high heat, only turning it down if the skin is threatening to burn rather than go a crispy golden colour.  Watch as the flesh begins to turn opaque, the colour change working its way up from the bottom.  When the fish is cooked from two-thirds to three-quarters of the way up, liberally season the fillets with salt and pepper, and flip the fish over to finish cooking topside down; this will probably take no more than a minute.  Serve immediately.

Cook’s Tip: once the fish is plated, add a walnut-sized knob of butter or an equivalent amount of double cream or whipping cream, stirring up any flavoursome crusty bits from the pan and amalgamating with any cooking juices.  As soon as the butter has melted and started to froth, or as soon as the cream has started to thicken a little, pour over the fish.

Serve with: whatever you like with fish, be it chips/french fries, rice, a simple salad, lightly steamed vegetables, or stuff the fillets into some crusty bread and eat as a sandwich.


  1. That was *VERY* good! Thanks for the method...it was cool watching the flesh turn opaque like an automatic timer! Came out golden brown

    It smelled fishy, so i soaked it in some Chinese rice wine. Turned out great!