Sometimes if we are lucky to find some, we bring up fresh whole flounder, already gutted. There are no boats that specifically fish for flounder so we don't have it so often. Mostly we get them from fishermen who gig them near the shore. Flounder start coming in once the Gulf waters get cooler which is after we have a few cold fronts...usually in October. Sizes range between 1 lb and 4 lbs.
Cook using wine, sauce, other liquids or moist vegetables to keep thin flounder fillets from drying out. Avoid sauces and herbs that might overpower their delicate taste. Thicker fillets are great for broiling, served with lightly herbed butter or for stuffing (with crab meat, for example). Small flounder can be grilled, broiled, baked or stuffed, but not filleted, because fillets would be too small.
Around 540 flatfish species belong to the taxonomic order Pleuronectiformes, meaning "sideswimmer." Flatfish are found throughout the world, though the most commercially important family, Plueronectidae, is concentrated in northern waters.
Yellowtail is the most important flounder caught on the Atlantic Coast, and petrale sole is the most important West Coast species. All flatfish have both eyes on one side of the head, though they begin life as normal fish. As they become bottom dwellers, one eye migrates to the other side, resulting in "right-eyed" and "left-eyed" flatfish. All commercially important soles and flounders harvested in North America are right-eyed, except fluke.
Raw flounder ranges from tan to pinkish to snow white, but cooked meat is pure white, lean, boneless and flaky with a mild flavor, ranging from bland to sweet. Taste and texture vary, depending on species.
Fish Cooking and Preparation Tips
Store fresh flounder in the refrigerator at 32-38°F and use within two days, or freeze in water in an air-tight bag or container and use within six months. Thaw in the refrigerator or under cold running water.
Always marinate seafood in the refrigerator.
A general rule for cooking fish is 10 minutes per inch of thickness at 400º to 450ºF, turning the fish halfway through the cooking time. This rule does not apply to frying or microwave cooking.
Fish less than ½-inch thick do not have to be turned. If fish is cooked in a sauce or foil, add 5 additional minutes to the cooking time.
The cooking time for frozen fish should be doubled. We recommend that you thaw fish prior to cooking.
Fish is done when the flesh becomes opaque and flakes easily at the thickest part.
Place fish, one-inch thick or less, 2-4 inches from the source of heat. Thicker pieces should be placed 5-6 inches away from the heat.
Preheat gas or electric grill. Charcoal grill: start the fire about 30 minutes before cooking. When coals are white-hot, spread out in a single layer. Adjust the grill height to 4 to 6 inches above the heat. Fish is best grilled over a moderately hot fire and on a grid that has been well oiled. Use indirect heat for a whole fish.
Pan-fry or Saute: Fry fillets in 1/8-inch of oil - or enough to come in contact with one side of fish - for 3 to 6 minutes per side or until golden and fish flakes easily. Thickness of fillets will determine the cooking time.
Deep fry: Place fish in single layer in deep kettle or saucepan and cook in enough fat to cover and permit it to move freely - do not crowd. The proper temperature in most instances is 365ºF. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. When cooking multiple batches always allow the temperature of the oil to return to 365ºF before adding fish.