Monday, February 11, 2013

CRAB-STUFFED FLOUNDER FILLETS WITH CREAMY CAPER-DILL SAUCE


Flounder by itself is not particularly filling, but when you stuff it with crab meat, it has more of a stick-to-your-ribs quality.  Both the flounder and the crab meat are pretty easy to find in New Bern.  B&J's on Route 70 is where we go to find the freshest flounder and crab meat.  B&J's steams and picks fresh-caught crabs, and both the founder and crab meat are locally caught.  It's always best to go through the crab meat again before using it because it's so easy to miss shell fragments and cartilage.

Fresh dill can be found at Wal-Mart and Harris Teeter.  Harris Teeter's is a smaller package and a tad less expensive. If you're a senior you'll get an extra 5% on Thursdays.

This dish is especially welcome during our short-lived winter here in East Carolina.  It gives a reason to turn the oven on.  Throw some potatoes in the oven 30-40 minutes before the fish, and while you're at it, roast some veggies that have been tossed with olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  You'll have a complete dinner.  If the veggies get done too soon, not to worry.  They're always delicious room temperature.

Crab-Stuffed Flounder with Creamy Caper-Dill Sauce
Rating 9 out of 10
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Creamy Caper-Dill Sauce
2 Tbsp. Duke or Hellmann's light mayo
3 Tbsp. plain yogurt* 
Scant 1/8 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1-1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 tsp. capers, drained
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh dill
1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
Scant pinch each: fine sea salt and white pepper

*If you use nonfat Greek yogurt, you will have to thin with water.

Combine all ingredients in small bowl.  If necessary, thin with water.  Refrigerate till needed.

Crab-Stuffed Flounder Fillets
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. minced fresh onion
2 Tbsp. minced roasted red pepper
2 Tbsp. Italian-style seasoned breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. Duke or Hellmann's Light mayo
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice + 1 tsp. for tops
1/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1 drop Worcestershire sauce
1/2 lb. lump crab meat, picked over for cartilage and shell fragments
4 fresh flounder fillets, skinned on both sides
About 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt (or to taste) + 1/8 tsp. for tops
About 1/8 tsp. white pepper (or to taste)
2-3 tsp. unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

In small fry pan, saute onion and red pepper in olive oil over medium heat, about 2-3 minutes.  Do not brown.  Remove from heat; stir in breadcrumbs, mayo, 1 tsp. lemon juice, Old Bay, pepper and Worcestershire; set aside to cool.  When cool, lightly fold in crab meat, taking care not to break up lumps. Refrigerate till needed.

Heat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with tinfoil; spray with nonstick cooking spray.  (Alternately, you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper or with the new tinfoil that has parchment on one side.)  Pat fish fillets dry with clean paper towel; lightly salt and pepper on one side only.  Place desired amount of filling onto one end of each piece; roll up starting with filled end.  Place seam side down on prepared pan; sprinkle with 1 tsp. lemon juice and about 1/8 tsp. salt. Dot with butter.  Bake about 20 minutes, or till fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.  Serve with Creamy Caper-Dill Sauce.  Yield 4 servings


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