Fresh caught North Carolina Flounder — beautiful white flesh with a mildly sweet flavor that is packed full of high-quality protein. This recipe is a perfect method to maintain all of the healthy qualities of the fish while adding some great flavor to it as well. Get two pans going on the stove at once — One to create the stuffing using onion, garlic, lemon zest, and a bit of salt and pepper. The other to put together a delicious cream based cheese sauce. I wish I had added some chopped parsley to the sauce to brighten both the flavors and appearance of the dish. I chose to use fresh spinach, so I chopped it up and added it to the onion along with the garlic to allow it to wilt properly. Once finished the flounder filets are stuffed and placed in a casserole dish on a bed of cooked rice. The cheese sauce is spooned over the fish and rice and baked for 25 minutes at 350 F. The fat in the cheese sauce creates a barrier around flounder, maintaining its moisture and producing a perfectly cooked final product. A delicious one dish meal — served here with a Summer House Salad.
BAKED STUFFED FLOUNDER (Serves 4-6)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for the sweat and for seasoning fillets
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (10-ounce package) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning fillets
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 10 ounces grated Cheddar
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds flounder fillets
- 3 cups cooked rice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium saute pan over low heat, melt the butter; add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add the spinach and lemon zest and cook until just heated through. Season with the salt and pepper, add the parsley, and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
- Place the heavy cream and wine into a saucepan over medium heat. Once the mixture begins to simmer, gradually add the cheese and stir until melted. Set aside and keep warm.
- If the fillets are large, cut in half. Season each filet on both sides with salt and pepper. Divide the spinach mixture evenly among the fillets and roll the fish around the mixture. Place the rice into a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish and spread evenly. Place each roll on top of the rice, seam side down. Pour over the cheese sauce and place in the oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.