Coast Cooking

Try cooking that fish whole —head and all

Whole fried flounder is delicate and delicious and requires few garnishes.
Whole fried flounder is delicate and delicious and requires few garnishes. Special to the Sun Herald

This week I will be blogging about fish.

Of all the lovely things we harvest and love to eat from local waters, nothing is as neglected as fish.

Shrimp, crabs and oysters are adored, but the poor fish remains underrated and under appreciated.

Almost anywhere you go in the world that is near the ocean, one of the most popular restaurant dishes is whole fish.

When is the last time you saw a whole, head-on fish in a local restaurant?

It is a great pity as whole, bone-in fish is far superior to a filet, just like a bone-in beef steak is better than a dry, un-marbled filet of beef.

I am sure there are many heads a waggling at this idea, but do a side-by-side taste test and bone-in wins every time.

The one exception seems to be the old-school practice of frying or baking a whole flounder. It is certainly a mainstay in Europe where the sole, the flounder’s cousin, is often served whole and looking back at you with his one good eye.

Nevertheless, it is delicious, and we need to get over our squeamishness.

Buy a whole flounder at your fish market; have him clean it for you. Dust in flour, season with salt and pepper and a little Tony Catchere’s or other Creole or Cajun seasoning if you like, and sauté in butter until brown.

If you pluck up your courage and make this recipe, your culinary world will change forever.

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