Intrigued by the unusual pairings in Crispy Flounder with Pears, Endive and Meyer Lemon, we were motivated to give it a go. Because it was one of Fine Cooking’s “Make It Tonight” easy dinner downloads, we thought it would be perfect for a meatless Monday repast.
Smoother, rounder, and deeper in color than standard lemons, Meyer lemons are less acidic, with orange and floral flavor notes. You can use regular lemons in place of the Meyers, but the dish will taste more tart, so you should add some orange to counter-balance the tartness.
The day we purchased the flounder fillets, they were on sale. Problem was, they only had three left. The fish monger explained that a restaurant owner bought most of his stock, so, feeling bad for us, he threw in a grouper fillet (which was actually almost double the price!) Of course, for the two of us, three fillets were more than plenty, so we froze the grouper for a future meal. Now that’s what I call added-value.
The sautéed pear (we used Bosc) and endive combination was magnificent! Be forewarned—you’ll need to cook them a LOT longer once the lid is removed. Instead of the two minutes the recipe indicates, it took around 15 minutes or more to get a caramelization going. But it was way worth it…
Visually the meal needed color, so we steamed some broccolini and made a couple of side salads. In the end, I’m not sure I would exactly call the cooked fish “crispy,” (as many other reviewers also acknowledged), the end result was more of a light golden topping, and I prefer that over crispy.
After the meal we discussed if any alterations were needed. Not finding fault, we then began to imagine a similar meal replacing the fish with duck breast, and using blood oranges instead of Meyer lemons… Hmmm food for thought…
- 2 small Meyer lemons
- 6 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3 medium Belgian endives, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
- 3 medium firm-ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 Tbs. thinly sliced chives; more for garnish
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup fine-ground cornmeal
- 4 small flounder or sole fillets (about 1-1/2 lb.)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Finely grate 2 tsp. zest from one of the lemons. Squeeze 1-1/2 lemons to yield 2 Tbs. of juice. Thinly slice the remaining half and cut each slice into quarters; set aside.
- In a 10- to 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan, melt 3 Tbs. of the butter over medium heat until foamy. Add the endives, pears, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1/2 tsp. salt; stir to combine. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the endives and pears are lightly browned in places, about 2 minutes. (We found it took 15 or more minutes for the browning to occur.) Remove from the heat and stir in the chives.
- While the endives and pears cook, combine the flour and cornmeal in a shallow dish. Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper and then dredge it in the cornmeal mixture. Heat 1/2 Tbs. of the butter with 1 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
- Cook 2 of the fillets, flipping once, until golden-brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean plate. Wipe out the skillet and repeat with another 1/2 Tbs. butter and the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and fillets. Transfer to the plate with the other fish. Wipe out the skillet again.
- Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. butter in the pan until melted and browned and then stir in the lemon slices and a pinch of salt. Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and reduce by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Divide the pear mixture among 4 dinner plates and top with a fillet. Spoon the lemon pan sauce over the fish, garnish with chives, and serve.
by Melissa Pellegrino from Fine Cooking