For my first post of 2021 I’m opening up another package from my Red’s Best shipment. This time it’s summer flounder, better known as fluke where I’m from. Last time I had fluke, my buddy gave me a nice big bag of mixed flounder fillets after a trip. I ended up making a fish pie out of it, which was delicious, but I’m not sure how much was fluke. I figured it was time to try it on its own like I’ve done with halibut, grey sole (witch flounder) and both Pacific and true Dover sole. So here is my first true experience with summer flounder.
About Fluke – aka Summer Flounder
Summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) is a fast growing left-eyed flounder found along the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to Florida. Summer flounder can get up to three feet long in a short time and are sexually mature by age two. Like most flatfish, summer flounder is an ambush predator, hiding in the sand and using their natural camouflage (color changing skin) to hide from both their prey and larger predators like sharks.
This very popular flatfish, often sold as fluke, is mostly caught on sandy bottom along the US East coast from Maine to the Carolinas. In the summer, fluke can be caught from shore, making it popular with recreational fishermen. Historically, flounder with the exception of halibut, was not a popular fish in American markets. The early “flounder draggers” of the late 19th century towed their small beam and otter trawls off Cape Cod and Long Island Sound under sail for local markets. Post WWI ushered in the start of modern fishing and flounder of all types, including fluke, grew in popularity.
The majority of the US commercial fluke catch occurs between Cape Cod and Cape Fear in both state and federal waters using otter trawl, gillnet and pound net. Due to their natural sandy habitat, fishing gear used for fluke fishing has minimal impact on the seafloor.
According to NOAA’s 2019 stock assessment, summer flounder is not overfished, with current fishing pressure at manageable levels and a population that has recovered from overfishing in the 1980’s. Fluke grow fast, live relatively short lives and spawn multiple times during the spawning season, which has aided in their recovery. This species is managed by NOAA together with scup and black sea bass, with 60% of the total allowable catch allocated to the commercial fishery.
About Red’s Best Fluke
Like all fish from Red’s Best, this fluke is fully traceable back to fishermen. The package label and QR code gives all the vitals to know who caught it, where they caught it, and how it was caught. According to the package, my fluke was caught by Luke Wheeler of the F/V SHIRLEY ANN using gillnets and landed at Little Compton, Rhode Island.
Similar to my other packages of frozen fish from Red’s Best, the fluke was vacuum sealed and frozen solid. I thawed the package overnight in the fridge. and gave a quick rinse as I separated the fillets.
My package contained three boneless, skinless fillets, one pound in total. This is considered medium sized for fluke, I’ve seen summer flounder at the wharves that were as thick as a chicken halibut. The fillets were also nice and clean, not ugly blemishes, and most importantly, no worms. Sometimes I wonder if a pound of fish is enough for the two of us, but the three fillets looked like more than the actual weight.
Looking at the broad thin fillets they reminded me of a meat cutlet, schnitzel or picatta, so I decided to dust them in seasoned flour before frying in butter.
The Recipe: Fluke Grenobloise
I’ve made Dover sole meunière a few years back, but if I knew this sauce back then it would have been Grenobloise. It’s just one extra step at the end and creates a magnificent sauce for all kinds of fish.
If you’re new here, please be advised that these measurements are approximations. I really don’t measure anything except the fish.
- 1lb Fluke fillets
- Seasoned Flour
- 2Tbsp+ Butter
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 1-2 Tbsp Capers
- Chopped fresh Italian Parsley
- 1 Lemon: zest, pieces and juice
- 1/4 Cup White Wine
I like to have my sauce ingredients prepped beforehand – combine the lemon, wine, capers and parsley and set aside.Have your fluke ready and heat up half the butter and some olive oil in a pan.
When hot (but not too hot) lightly dust as many fillets as you can fit and place in the pan. Pan fry the fluke for two minutes per side, depending upon thickness.
When done place the fluke fillets on a plate in a 200F oven to keep warm while making sauce. Remove used oil and wipe pan clean before adding the rest of the butter. When it begins to brown pour in the sauce mixture and let it reduce down before spooning over the fluke.
The recipe is so easy and just a couple steps more than a simple pan seared fish. The only problem for me is my small house, which quickly smells like my grandma’s after frying up a bunch of whiting. I’m also a slob and I was quickly covered in flour just like when I was a fry cook. I served the fluke Grenobloise over a bed of mashed parsnip and potato with green onion.
How Was The Fluke?
This came out sooo good. Flaky and mild fish done in a blink of an eye. The fluke would have been great if I left it meunière style, but the Grenobloise sauce adds so much brightness and flavor. It was absolutely delicious and only looked expensive and tedious. So far so good Red’s Best, your high quality seafood had us cooking another local fish for the first time and loving it.