Whats for dinner tonight? How about my Panko Breaded Flounder?
I truly am spoiled living on the east coast, where so much great fresh seafood is available. And really lucky to have a Wegman’s to shop at with a great selection of reliable fresh seafood, much of which is sourced locally. So when I saw fresh flounder on display being hand filleted per order, I knew that would be the perfect choice for dinner.
While Lisa likes flounder simply broiled, or stuffed, my favorite way to eat flounder is fried. Crispy crunchy and fried till golden brown…..sigh.
The problem with frying these days is all the media attention and how bad everyone says it is for you…..it kind of takes all the fun out of eating fried foods! But I have found a solution to that problem! I’ve been using coconut oil for skillet frying, and its been working out really well! Okay, I know it’s still fried, but it certainly is a much healthier version of fried and remember with me it’s baby steps…
Growing up, my father used cracker meal for breading seafood, and I always enjoyed that type of light breading. But for the flounder, I was looking for something with a little more body and crunch to it. Regular bread crumbs just didn’t seem like a good option for me, and then I remembered the box of panko bread crumbs in the pantry! That was the perfect choice, it actually kept the flounder lighter, not absorbing as much of the cooking oil and added the wonderful crispy crunch that I was looking for!
For a side dish, I wanted a contrast to the light and flaky flounder and something with a stronger flavor. A more pronounced flavor would work to make the fish seem even more delicate and mild. Pasta is always my go-to side dish, and by adding in the bitter element of broccoli rabe, it did two things for my entree.
It added in the contrast of flavors I was looking for and helped mask any objectionable coconut flavor that may have lingered on the palate. I actually like the taste of Kelapo, but when you’re cooking for someone that doesn’t like coconut, you have to be creative or sneaky! Can I tell you Lisa had no idea I used coconut oil and even took the leftovers to school for her lunch the next day? That’s always a good sign. When Lisa packs up the leftovers for lunch, then she really enjoyed dinner and wasn’t just humoring me.
I think you do get used to flavors, and the more you use them preparing foods you love, the easier it becomes. I remember my first experience with olive oil when I was a teenager….I hated it! Then one day I dipped bread into a plate of seasoned olive oil and became an instant convert. I think over time Lisa will get used to the flavor and won’t even notice when I use it. It’s all about balancing flavors.
If you love seafood you might also like my Pan Seared Halibut.