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Crispy Flounder with Pears, Endive, and Meyer Lemon


Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 115

Smoother, rounder, and deeper in color than standard lemons, Meyer lemons are less acidic, with orange and floral flavor notes.

  • 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
You can use regular lemons in place of the Meyers, but the dish will taste more tart.

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. 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.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 350, Fat (kcal): 20, Fat Calories (g): 180, Saturated Fat (g): 12, Protein (g): 19, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5, Carbohydrates (mg): 22, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1, Sodium (g): 570, Cholesterol (g): 110, Fiber (g): 4,

Photo: Scott Phillips

This recipe was amazing! I substituted broccoli for the endive because my market was out that day. The sweetness of the pears and tartness of the lemon combined perfectly. The flounder was crisp and moist. I served it over Jasmine rice. It made a beautiful dinner!

I liked the flavors but I think this needs double the amount of pear/endive mixture (with less butter!) and the flounder was not too crispy

I liked the flavors but I think this needs double the amount of pear/endive mixture (with less butter!) and the flounder was not too crispy

This is one of those really clever recipes that makes a main and a side in a relatively short time. I had all the ingredients, but ended up using one large apple instead of the pears as mine weren't ripe enough. It was really delicious, my husband and I agreed. The meyer lemon adds a citrus flavor that isn't too tart. I enjoyed the combination of cornmeal and flour on the fish, although there was a lot of the dredging mixture left over. The cooked endive was unusual. Letting the endive and pear (in my case apple) saute uncovered for a few minutes at the end made parts of it nice and caramelized. I felt that the chives added just enough of a green accent, especially if you pair it with a green salad. I wondered if we would need another, more starchy side like rice or something, but it was filling on its own. Definitely a keeper for when I want something a little more fancy (but hardly much more work) than a standard meuniere.

Very nice except for the endive and overall appearance of the dish. Cooked endive was soggy and tough. Meal was white/colorless. Fresh asparagus, or something green on the plate next to this dish would have made it more visually appealing. Fish, sauce and pears were very good.

I happened to have all the ingredients in the house including the Meyer lemons. I was a bit doubtful about the combination, but it was wonderful. The flavor was really good. I used 6 flounder fillets, which worked out fine, and everything else the same as the recipe. Instead of serving individually, I placed the endive combination on a platter and topped with the fish and sauce. Three of us had two helpings apiece. Yum.

I made this with regular lemon instead of Meyer lemons. I thought it was too lemony. My husband said, "this is wonderful!" So I think it can be improved to five stars by using the Meyer lemons.

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