BLACKENED WILD CAUGHT FLOUNDER WITH HOMEMADE SPICE BLEND

My husband and I eat this dish on a VERY regular basis on weeknights. Like, upwards of 4 times a week sometimes. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s cheap, and delicious. Check, check, check, and check. When trying to eat clean and slim down, we both find that if we eat a light seafood protein for dinner it really makes a difference.

Some people shy away from cooking seafood at home, especially fish. It can be intimidating, and if you buy fresh seafood from the seafood counter at the store, it can sometimes be expensive, especially if you prefer wild caught seafood exclusively, like I do. However, I have found that there are several varieties of frozen, wild caught seafood that are really delicious, and also VERY affordable.

For instance, I buy this wild caught flounder at Costco for $9.99 a bag and there are usually about 16 small fillets in each bag. That’s about 62 cents per piece. My husband usually likes to eat 3 pieces, and I like to eat 2 for dinner, and I think that 1 piece would be a great serving for a little kiddo.

Now, a lot of people turn their nose up at frozen fish… that’s just silly. A large majority of fish is processed and Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) on the boat when it is caught, making it incredibly fresh when thawed. In fact, a LOT of the fish that you see in the fish counter at the supermarket is simply frozen fish that the staff in the seafood department has defrosted for you, and arranged it all pretty in the glass case on crushed ice, and then charged you more for it. True story – I had a close friend who worked in the meat and seafood department at a nice grocery store, and he told me so. Now, if the fish is local, then it might actually be fresh.

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However, my point is, don’t be afraid of frozen fish – or cooking fish at home in general. I highly recommend you start with flounder. Flounder swim along the bottom of the ocean and eat little crustaceans, so they are naturally sweet and mild tasting, just like crab and shrimp. Flounder is a delicate, thin fish, so I found the best way to cook it is to sear on the bottom side, and instead of flipping the fish and inevitably breaking it, just broil the tops until both sides are cooked. They often use this technique in restaurants for delicate pieces of fish.

These little 2 oz. fillets can be thawed in the refrigerator like the package recommends, but I often thaw them on my counter in about 2 hours. Usually around 4 pm when I get home from work, I take out 5-6 fillets and place them in a single layer on top of a few paper towels on a large plate. Around 6 or 6:30 pm they are ready to cook. If you work a 9-5, you could probably put them in the fridge to thaw on a plate with a paper towel underneath before you leave for work, and take them out of the fridge to finish thawing on the counter when you get home.

Homemade Blackening Spice Blend

2 tablespoons of paprika
2 tablespoons of granulated garlic
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon of dried basil
1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of pink sea salt

Blackened Flounder (serves 2 adults)

4-6 pieces of defrosted frozen wild caught flounder fillets, depending on appetite
about 2 tablespoons of Blackening Spice (above)
2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil

1. Turn your oven on to “broil” and let it warm up while you prepare the fish.

2. Season both sides of the flounder VERY generously with the Blackening Spice. There should be a good layer of the spice on both sides of the fish, almost like the fish is “dredged” in the spice blend.

3. Heat the coconut oil up in a large stainless steel saute pan on medium high that can also go in the oven (this is the one I have).

4. Once the pan is hot, add the flounder fillets in a single layer, with the flat side of the fillet down. Use a silicone pastry brush to lightly dab some of the melted coconut oil from the pan on the tops of the flounder, being careful not to brush off the spice blend. Cook for about a minute on the stove, then transfer to the oven on the top rack.

5. Broil the flounder for 5-7 seven minutes until the fish is cooked through and the spices have “blackened” on top. The edges of the fish will be crispy and delicious. You can drain the cooked pieces of flounder on a paper towel if you want, but coconut oil is perfectly delicious and nutritious, so I don’t bother. (*I wouldn’t recommend olive oil as a substitution, because of the high temperatures from the sear and the broil, but Avocado Oil would also work.)