photograph by Matt Hulsman

Fried Flounder Sandwich

Yield: 4 servings.

For the sauce:
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ small sweet onion, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
1 tablespoon dill pickle juice
2 teaspoons hot sauce
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the fish:
1½ pounds flounder, cut into 4 portions
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup self-rising cornmeal
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra
2 tablespoons seafood seasoning
2 cups vegetable oil
4 hamburger or brioche buns, lightly toasted
4 leaves butter lettuce
4 thick slices heirloom tomatoes

For the sauce: Combine all ingredients and season with black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the fish: Place a cooling rack over paper towels. Lightly season flounder with salt on both sides. Mix together flour, cornmeal, 2 teaspoons salt, and seafood seasoning in baking dish. Dip fish into flour mixture and press to coat.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add fish to hot skillet and cook in batches, depending on size of pan. Do not crowd skillet. Cook 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until fish is golden brown and flakes easily with a fork, turning once. Remove fish from skillet and place on cooling rack.

Spread sauce on both sides of bun and assemble sandwich.

Grilled Amberjack with Citrus

Yield: 6 servings.

½ cup orange juice
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
¼ tablespoon dry white wine
2 pounds amberjack fillets, or 3 medium to large whole cleaned fish
Kosher salt to taste
3 tablespoons lemon pepper
Ground black pepper to taste
2 limes, sliced (for garnish)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together orange, lime, and lemon juices; olive oil; and white wine. Place the fish into a large glass baking dish and season with salt and lemon pepper on both sides. Pour juice mixture over fish and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to high. When the grill is hot, scrape the grate clean and oil the grate.

Place fish on the grill and discard the marinade. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes with a fork. Transfer to a serving platter and add salt and black pepper to taste. Garnish with lime slices.

Stuffed Mountain Trout

Yield: 4 servings.

3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 rainbow trout, boned and headed
Freshly ground black pepper
8 fresh tarragon sprigs
4 dill sprigs
2 lemons, sliced
Chopped fresh tarragon, dill, or parsley (for garnish)
Lemon wedges (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 450°. In a mixing bowl, combine spinach, panko, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.

Cut four sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil into squares that are 3 inches longer than the fish. Coat one side of the foil with olive oil. Season both sides of trout with salt and pepper, and lay the fish out flat, skin side down, in the center of each square. Fill each trout with spinach mixture. Place two tarragon sprigs, a sprig of dill, and two lemon slices in the middle of each trout. Fold the two sides together. Drizzle ½ teaspoon olive oil over each fish.

Loosely fold the foil around each trout. Roll the extra foil down and crimp the ends tightly to make a packet. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the meat pulls apart easily when tested with a fork.

Gently remove the fish from each packet and place on a serving platter. Pour the juices over the fish. Sprinkle with fresh tarragon, dill, or parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.

Whole Red Snapper with Herbs

Yields: 4 servings.

1 whole red snapper, cleaned and scaled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1 lemon, sliced
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
¼ cup chopped scallions
¼ cup celery leaves
¼ cup chopped chives

Pat snapper dry with paper towels. In a large cast-iron or heavy skillet over medium heat, combine olive oil and butter until butter begins to bubble. Liberally salt and pepper snapper on both sides, then place it in the skillet. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, then turn fish over using a wide spatula.

Add lemon juice, lemon slices, rice wine vinegar, and chopped scallions. Cover skillet and continue cooking fish on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove lid and add celery leaves and chives. Spoon pan liquids over fish and herbs. Remove skillet from heat and let fish rest, covered, for 5 minutes before serving. 

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.