Flounder loves a good crust. It's a mild, flaky fish that benefits from both the structure and the flavor of being battered and pan-fried. Here I took a detour from the typical flour dredge and coated my fish in a mixture of flaxseed meal and crushed pepitas. When the filets take to the pan, the flaxseed mixture crusts up around the flounder, deliciously nutty and scale-like. The crunchy armor keeps the flesh tender and moist, creating a wonderful contrast of textures in each bite.
A crema of avocado, basil and a hit of lime makes an addictive dipping sauce for the fish (if you can resist devouring it all with a spoon before meal time). I recommend holding off on the crema until the very end, as the avocado and basil will quickly oxidize, despite the lime's kiss of acidity. It'll still taste alright, but no one wants an ugly brown crema on their plate. I finished off with a confetti-like scattering of asparagus over the flounder (finely chopped and sauteed in the fish's pan leftovers).
FLAXSEED & PEPITA CRUSTED FLOUNDER
WITH AVOCADO-BASIL CREMA AND SAUTEED ASPARAGUS
For the flounder:
1/2 cup golden flaxseed meal
1/4 cup raw pepitas, finely chopped
Dash red pepper flakes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 flounder filets
In a shallow dish combine 1/2 cup flaxseed meal, 1/4 cup chopped pepitas, and season with a dash or two of red pepper flakes and sea salt. In another dish crack one large egg and beat lightly. Dredge flounder fillets in flaxseed meal mixture, then egg, then back in meal. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high. When oil is hot, add filets and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until crust is golden brown. Plate fish, squeeze lime juice over top, and serve with a dollop of avocado-basil crema (recipe below) and sauteed chopped asparagus bits (recipe below).
1 ripe avocado
Handful fresh basil leaves
A few splashes soy milk
Juice from about 1 lime
1 tsp lime zest
Combine all ingredients in a food processor; puree to a smooth consistency, taste, and adjust flavors as preferred. (Note: Avocados and basil are both prone to quick oxidization, so make this relatively close to serving time to avoid a brown colored crema).
For the asparagus:
1 bunch asparagus, finely chopped
After pan-frying the flounder, heat more olive oil in same skillet. Add chopped asparagus bits and saute over medium heat until bright and just tender, about 5 minutes. Serve over fish.