Working with Dave Pasternack on The Young Man and the Sea taught me how good seemingly plebian flounder can be if it's fresh and prepared well. This recipe for pan-fried Flounder with Beets and Sugar Snap Peas will have you thinking wonderful thoughts about flounder from now on. Trust me. Actually, don't trust me. Trust Dave. The man knows how to cook fish.
Flounder with Beets and Sugar Snap Peas
- Yield:Serves 4
- 1 pound beets, scrubbed and dried
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- 1 cup high-quality store-bought breadcrumbs
- 1 cup Wondra
- 3 large eggs
- Four 5-ounce flounder fillets
- 1 pound sugar snap peas
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place each beet on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil, roll the beet to lightly coat, and season with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Wrap loosely in the foil. Place the packets on a baking sheet and then in the oven. Roast until the beets are easily pierced with the point of a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Set aside.
Finely chop half the mint leaves. In a shallow bowl, combine them with the breadcrumbs. In another shallow bowl, season the Wondra with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. In a third bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Dredge each flounder fillet in the seasoned flour, then dip in the beaten egg, and then in the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a baking sheet.
In a large sauté pan, heat the 1/2 cup olive oil. Add the sugar snap peas, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the diced beets and the reserved unchopped mint, and continue cooking for 1 minute.
In another large, preferably nonstick, sauté pan, heat the canola oil until hot but not smoking. Add the butter. When the foam subsides, add the fillets; you should hear them sizzle. Cook until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked fillets to a paper-towel-lined platter, and season immediately with salt and pepper. Serve with the sugar snap peas and beets alongside.