Fresh flounder is mild and light-tasting, and in Eastern North Carolina, it's plentiful. B&J's Seafood on Route 70 in James City is my go-to fish monger when hubby isn't catching. They'll scale, clean and dress the flounder so it's ready to cook. Harris Teeter sometimes has dressed whole flounder, too. Planks can be purchased at Lowe's and at Harris Teeter. Look for special sales. For instance, at Harris Teeter, the planks go on special for $4.99 for a pack of two planks. Sound pricey? It's not too bad when you consider that you can use the planks several times. After grilling, scrub the plank the way you would a pot, with dish detergent and water. Dry and reuse until you can't. Each of my planks last through about 4 uses. The trick to this is to soak them longer than the recommended 1 hour. Hubby starts soaking our plank in the morning for an evening use.
Don't be afraid to try this method of cooking fish. It's very forgiving. Even if you cook it a little too long, the fish will still be moist and tender.
Planked Whole Flounder
Click for PRINTABLE PAGE
1 grilling plank
1 whole dressed flounder with head and tail, about 1-1/2 lbs.
1-1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 medium sweet onion, peeled, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
3-4 sprigs fresh parsley
Soak plank in a clean sink with warm water for at least 5 hours. Weigh down with a gallon jug of water or a brick wrapped in tinfoil.
Heat gas grill to 400-425F. Turn one burner off and maintain grill temperature at 400 - 425F. Remove plank from water, drain. Rinse fish under cold running water; pat dry with clean paper towels. Approximating where fish will be on the plank, place onion and lemon slices and sprigs of parsley. Sprinkle fish inside and out with salt and pepper.
Stuff fish cavity with onion and lemon slices and sprigs of parsley. Place fish on plank over lemon and onion slices. Tuck any stray lemon and onions slices under fish. Use remaining onion and lemon slices for top of fish.
Place planked fish on turned-off burner; cover grill; cook about 40-45 minutes,or till fish skin is dry and papery and fish is cooked through. You can check that the fish is cooked through by inserted a fork through the skin into the flesh. The plank should not catch fire when used on a turned-off burner. In the rare event that the plank should catch fire, just wet edges with a Tbsp. or two of water. Transfer plank using grill mitts and tongs. Let rest 5-10 minutes.
To serve: Peel back skin; remove.
With fork, gently push fish away from the center of the bone towards the outside, exposing the bone.
Lift the bone and remove, exposing the bottom section of the fish.
A 1-1/2 lb. whole fish will serve 2-3 people. Leftovers are delicious the next day, cold or heated.