The other night I was in the mood for stuffed flounder but was feeling too budget-constrained to buy crab. As I was looking through variations of stuffed flounder recipes, I found this one from Brenda Taylor at allrecipes.com. It’s not stuffed flounder but it called for cheese, breadcrumbs and more cheese. Sounds good to me!
The original recipe called for marjoram but I wanted a different flavor, maybe Old Bay. When I reached for it in the cabinet, I noticed all the other spice mixes we never use, including Bojangles French fry seasoning. I gave it whiff, glanced at the ingredients and decided to use that instead.
Since there are only two of us and the original recipe serves six, I knew I had to make some recipe adjustments. I bought two large fillets that weighed .8 pounds — enough for dinner and a little left over. Instead of halving the onions and mushrooms, I increased them to make them a more substantial part of the dish. I added roasted red bell pepper because I had just scored a deal on four red bell peppers for 99 cents from the bargain rack. Although they were starting to wrinkle just a little bit, they were perfect for roasting. They added additional color and flavor to the topping.
Now, my regret. Flounder was on sale at my supermarket. I like flounder so I bought it. I didn’t check my Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide until I wrote this post. Fail. Flounder is on their Avoid list. I could have chosen farmed tilapia, if it was available, that would have worked with this recipe. This morning I tacked the Best Choices and Good Alternatives lists to my bulletin board so I make better choices in the future.
Why is Atlantic flounder (and sole) on the Avoid list? I’ll let the Aquarium tell you:
They’re fished mainly with trawls, a method that involves towing a net close to the seafloor. Trawls are problematic as they disturb and destroy the seafloor habitat and accidentally catch large quantities of bycatch.
Flatfish populations off the Atlantic coast have experienced heavy fishing pressure from domestic and international fleets over the last half-century. Many species are at very low levels, particularly Atlantic halibut and some populations of yellowtail flounder. Despite a management plan intended to allow flatfish populations to rebuild in the Atlantic, most are still declining. All Atlantic flatfish species are currently on our “Avoid” list.
Sorry, big fella. Live and learn. I’m keeping my Seafood Watch list handy from now on.
Takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Serves 3.
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup sliced green onions, yellow onions or a mix of both
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1# flounder or sole fillets
- 2 Tbsp roasted red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 tsp Old Bay or other dried spices
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp dry white wine or sherry
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp shredded reduced-fat cheddar or Mexican cheese blend
- 3 Tbsp seasoned whole wheat, Panko or Italian bread crumbs
- 1-1/2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 1-1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Saute the onions and mushrooms until softened. Spread in a baking dish. Arrange the fish over the vegetables, overlapping the thickest ends of the fillets over the thin ends if they don’t all fit. Sprinkle with roasted red bell pepper, spices, salt and pepper.
Pour wine and lemon juice over the fish. Sprinkle it with the cheese, bread crumbs and parmesan. Drizzle with butter. Bake, uncovered, at 400 for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Adapted from: Baked Flounder, allrecipes.com
Photo Credit: dusky flounder at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, Georgia by Passage Productions and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce