Chef Gary’s Fried Flounder Fillet

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My mother Ruth and my Grandma Stella always made this dish by frying flounder or sole in a pan with oil. Any firm, flaky white fish will work for this, but frying it in a pan — not deep frying or air frying — is a must. Fresh fish is best. This goes well with tartar sauce, sour cream, coleslaw, french fries, and cocktail sauce. Don’t forget the lemon wedges.
Drinks, you ask? Cold chardonnay, of course. This recipe is simple, affordable, and healthy. It makes an elegant meal, and it’s a fun way to introduce fish to the kids.

Fried fish flounder on white plate isolated on wooden background side view (By Ezhukov via Getty Images)

Ingredients
1 pound flounder fillet per person
2 whole eggs, or 1 egg and 1 egg white with a tablespoon of water (may substitute with whole milk)
Generous amount of salt
and pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons canola or corn oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


Prep time: less than ½ hour
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes

Set up a “frying station.” Beat the eggs in one bowl, seasoning them with pepper and salt. Set out a separate dish with flour. Set a third dish with the breadcrumbs.

Rinse and pat dry all the fillets. One at a time, dredge the fish in the flour, dust off the excess, dip into the egg wash, shake excess egg off the fillet, then dip into
breadcrumbs to coat.

Place each fillet on foil-lined platter. Once all the fillets are breaded, it’s time to cook them.

Into a warm skillet, place enough corn or canola oil to adequately cover the inside of the pan. Add olive oil for flavor. (Rule of thumb is four parts vegetable oil to one part olive oil.) On medium-high heat, place one or two fillets. Fry on medium-high heat for two minutes. Carefully and gently turn the fish fillets over. Cook for about a minute to a minute and a half, depending on the thickness of the fish. As with all frying, the oil needs to be hot enough to seal the breading around the fish without burning the breadcrumbs. If the heat is too low, the fish will soak up oil.

Once cooked, remove the fillets from the oil carefully and drain on paper towels. Pour out pan’s oil and begin with fresh oil mixture for next batch.

Serve immediately or allow to come to room temperature. Once at room temperature, they can be kept in parchment-lined baking dishes in the oven, set on the lowest setting. These can be appropriately wrapped and refrigerated for 24 to 48 hours or frozen for two to three months. If frozen, defrost in the refrigerator overnight. This fish is amazing served cool. The fillets can be warmed in an oven; don’t microwave it.

Columnist Gary Schuman is a former New York City restaurateur, New York Times restaurant reviewer, and State of Florida-certified cooking instructor.

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