Sautéed Flounder Fillets with Watercress Sauce

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When I visited Frank, some wonderful hand line-caught, or “gigged,” 2-pound flounders came in on the fish truck from Apalachicola. So we boned the fish and stuffed them with a mixture of chopped shrimp, crabmeat, watercress, lemon zest, chives, shallots, and Tabasco, all held together with buttered fresh white bread crumbs. They were the fish special that night at the Bar & Grill.

Of course, my favorite mayonnaise-based sauce, French gribiche, was served with it, and Frank’s version is loaded with watercress. He serves the fish with blackeyed, or lady, peas and watercress dipped 30 seconds in boiling salted water and tossed in extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 flounder fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 recipe Watercress Gribiche
  • 2 lemons, quartered

Method

Put the flour in a shallow pan or baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in the seasoned flour to coat lightly on each side. Shake off any excess.

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the flounder skin side up. Cook until pale golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the fillets over and cook the fish until done, another 3 to 6 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Drain the fillets for a few seconds on paper towels, then put them on heated plates. Add a large spoon of watercress sauce and pass the rest on the side. Garnish with lemon quarters to squeeze over the fish.

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