Almondine or Amandine, is a fancy name for a simple food preparation that can change a bland and boring dish into something special. Trout almondine or amandine, (the spelling depends on if you are American or European) and sole almondine are often found on menus at restaurants in Europe. These two fish are delicate in flavor and lend themselves perfectly to this classic preparation. Both dishes are usually served very simply with buttered new potatoes and haricot vert. Another popular almondine dish is green beans almondine, where browned butter toasted almonds add a wonderful flavor and crunch to tender, young green beans.
After spotting fresh flounder at my local fish market, I decided to prepare flounder almondine. However, you can prepare this dish using any thin, mild tasting, white fish filets such as trout, sole, snapper or tilapia that you have available in your area.
You may think that cooking fish at home is difficult but it is just the opposite, it is easy. To insure that your fish is moist and delicious, just remember to not over cook whatever fish you are preparing. Essentially, this is a recipe for fish that is lightly floured and pan-fried in olive oil and a little butter and then sauced with a classic butter sauce in which slivered almonds have been browned. A little squeeze of fresh lemon adds just enough acidity to balance the butter. This fish dish comes together very quickly and is perfect for a weeknight dinner. Although easy to prepare, I believe your family or friends will love it.
Serves 2, adjust the recipe according
- 2 or 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Wondra or flour for dusting the fish
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 or two flounder filets per person, depending on size
- 4 Tbsp. butter, divided
- 1/4 c. sliced almonds
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Season each side of the flounder generously with salt and pepper. Lightly dust the fish with Wondra or flour and shake off any excess. Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter has stopped foaming, add the flounder (depending on the size of the filets, it may be necessary to cook the fish in two batches). Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn carefully with a large spatula and cook about a minute more. You want to be careful not to over cook the fish as the filets are thin. Remove to individual plates and keep warm.
Drain out the oil and wipe the sauté pan with a paper towel and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan. When the foaming has subsided, add the almonds to the pan and cook until the butter and almonds are just beginning to brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the flounder filets. You can garnish your fish filets with chopped fresh parsley or slices of fresh lemon, if you wish, then serve.
When I serve a dish that is basically brown, I like to make sure that I add some color to the plate. As you can see, I served the flounder almondine with parsley potatoes and tiny green beans that were sautéed in olive oil and garlic. Steamed asparagus, sautéed spinach or a green salad would also be good to serve with the fish. This weeknight meal came together in less that 30 minutes and was anything but ordinary. If you get a chance to try a fish or vegetable served almondine or amandine style, I hope you will enjoy it.