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How to Buy & Cook Flounder

Learn how to buy and cook flounder in this Howcast food video with Chef Brendan McDermott.


When buying a flounder, or a fish in general, what you're really looking for is something that's going to be fresh. Some people like to look at the eyes and see, you know, make sure that they're nice and clear.

Others like to look at the gills and really make sure that they have some nice color to them, something reddish, or even a little orange sometimes. You want them to have some vibrant color to them. If they're kind of brown or faded, it probably means that they've been out of the water a little bit and not the freshest thing.

Another thing you can do is you can just feel it. You can smell it. It should smell a little bit like the ocean but not low tide. You want something that's nice and almost has no smell at all.

Some of the best ways to prepare a flounder. Honestly, once you got that filet off, you've got it skinned, really, some minimal work to it is really nice. It's a delicate, flaky, white fish so a little bit of oil in a pan. Get a good nice sear on it. And then we can even finish it with a little bit of lemon juice or white wine and some fresh herbs, like parsley or thyme. Just let it cook one side. Turn it over. Add your little ingredients. Your wine or lemon and stuff and then let that finish. It should only take about two or three minutes, and you should have a really wonderful piece of fish.

You can always check to make sure the white fish and stuff, the flakier stuff, is done by taking a fork and pulling at it a little bit. You'll see it should almost break apart for you. If it's got a little resistance, that means it's not done. It could take a couple minutes

Some other stuff that you can do with our flounder is cornmeal or breadcrumbs and do a nice, little fried fish. That's always really good.

When you're buying flounder, try and just find a place that you're comfortable with, a lot of fish markets, a lot of cities have some really wonderful fish markets that get fresh fish in all the time, all day. Sometimes you got to go early in the morning. In New York, we've got something called The Fulton Fish Market, which is really wonderful, and you can get a lot of really great fish. If something like that isn't as accessible, you can do a Google search and try and find people who are carrying fresh fish in your local area. Try to avoid buying stuff frozen at a supermarket, because you really don't know how long it's been there. The longer something's been frozen, the less flavor it has. It can actually dissipate, and you're not getting all the flavor and nutrients that you want.

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