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Rec: Flounder à la Provençale

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Joined: Dec 11, 2005


Posted to Thread #666 at 9:11 pm on Feb 1, 2006

My notes:

This is a tasty and easy weeknight dish. I’ve made it three times in the last two weeks. I just used a couple of flounder filets, one 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes that covers well, one tsp. of minced garlic, and drizzled a bit of olive oil in at the end.

“Float-fry" the flounder in a large nonstick pan. I’ve tried it in my heavy-duty fry pan and it hopelessly stuck even though I gave it plenty of olive oil. I bought the Wondra flour for this and it seems better than regular flour. The Wondra label states that it’s a good sauce flour.

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As the name implies, tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil are staples of this bright and pleasant dish. Although the recipe calls for flounder, in fact any white flaky fish would do well with the same treatment.

Serves 6


6 whole flounders (nearly 6 pounds), cleaned and skinned
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground white pepper
Wondra flour, for dredging
9 tablespoons plus ½ cup olive oil
3 small garlic cloves, finely diced
6 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice (see page 244)
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Dry and season the fish with ½ teaspoon of salt and several grindings of white pepper. Dredge in the flour and lightly shake off the excess. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil to a large sauté pan (cast iron is ideal) and set over a medium-high flame. When the oil starts to smoke, add 2 of the fish and brown for 4 minutes per side, aiming for a crisp brown crust. Transfer the cooked fish to a warm platter and hold until all the fish are cooked (or hold in a 200° F. oven). Cook the remaining fish in the same manner, wiping the sauté pan clean and replenishing the oil each time.

Reduce the heat to low and add the remaining ½ cup of olive oil to the pan. Add the garlic and cook until soft and translucent but not brown, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the diced tomatoes and parsley and stir well to combine. Cook for about 1 minute, just to lightly warm the tomatoes. Season with ¼ teaspoon of salt and a few grindings of white pepper. Plate the flounder and spoon the sauce generously over the fish.


We find Wondra flour by Gold Medal yields the best results when pan-frying fish. It has a fine blend of wheat and barley that creates a very smooth and crispy crust.

The Balthazar Cookbook
Keith McNally, Riad Nasr & Lee Hanson
Clarkson Potter/Publishers
New York

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