I have always lived within driving distance of the ocean or gulf and with that comes the love of seafood. One of the nice things about now living in New England is the availability of all kinds of fresh seafood…from fish, clams, mussels, to lobster. When eating fish, my first choice are the thin, mild flavored ones such as sole or flounder. My market had beautiful flounder the other day and I decided to prepare sautéed flounder with a shrimp cream sauce.
The sauce for this dish is based on a classic Béchamel with the addition of a broth made from white wine and fresh tomato that I used to poach the small shrimp in for this recipe. The broth makes the sauce both lighter and more flavorful. Just before serving, the shrimp, diced tomato and fresh basil are added. The light shrimp cream sauce compliments the delicate flavor and texture of the flounder without overwhelming it.
Sautéed Flounder Topped With A Shrimp Cream Sauce
- 1 large shallot or 1/4 of a small onion, finely diced
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 c. white wine
- 1 tomato, blanched and peeled
- a pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 c. or more of small shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 Tbsp. flour (I used Wondra)*
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1/2 c. half and half
- white pepper and salt to taste
- 5 or 6 leaves of fresh basil, torn into small pieces
- 2 or 3 Tbsp. each of Butter and Oil for sautéing
- 1 or 2 filets of flounder for each person, depending on size
- flour (I used Wondra)* for dusting
- salt and pepper for seasoning
In a pot, sauté the diced shallot or onion in 1 Tbsp. butter until translucent, then set aside. Remove the outside wall of the peeled tomato and cut into a small dice and reserve for later. Cut the core of the tomato into a couple of pieces and add to the pot along with the wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and add shrimp. Cook the shrimp for about one minute until barely done, then remove and set aside. Let the broth simmer until reduced to about half a cup. Strain the broth and set aside.
Put the butter and flour in a pot over medium heat and whisk until blended. Add the milk, half and half, salt and pepper, whisk to blend. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened. Add the reserved broth and diced onion, then stir until combined. Just before serving add the reserved shrimp, diced tomato and the fresh basil and stir until warmed through.
Put 2 or 3 Tbsp. each of butter and oil in a skillet large enough to cook the flounder filets. Season the filets with salt and pepper and dust with flour or Wondra. When butter sizzles, add the fish filets and cook on each side until cooked through and golden.
Plate the flounder and spoon the shrimp cream sauce over the fish.
*Wondra is a finely ground and treated instant flour that is low in protein and dissolves instantly in water, those preventing lumps in sauces and gravies.
I made this dish for just my husband and I, but the recipe is easily doubled or tripled. If flounder or sole is not available in your area, any mild white fish would work. This dish is delicious and a little elegant looking so it would be perfect to serve when having guests. The sauce could be made ahead of time and refrigerated. It could be reheated, (thinned with a little milk, if necessary) adding the shrimp, tomatoes and basil to the sauce just before sautéing the fish.