Sautéed Flounder with Pickled Spring Onions

Posted by: Lior Lev Sercarz on Thursday, November 7, 2013

Recipe from Paul Kahan, Blackbird, Chicago, featured in The Art of Blending cookbook by La Boîte. 

I first discovered the richness of Spanish cuisine soon after moving to New York. Seamus Mullen, the chef at Tertulia, is the person who’s taught me the most about Spanish food. (Despite his American heritage, Mullen is an expert on all things Spain.) I love his pure, clean approach to cooking, and these easy lamb skewers are an example of that philosophy. A coarse spice blend such as my Moruno N.21 spice blend is also great in meatballs: It both seasons the meat and gives the spheres a crunchy crust.


Makes 4 servings

4 red or white spring onions (or 8 scallions)

½ cup Champagne vinegar

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Four 6-ounce portions of boneless flounder, sole or skate wing

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Cancale N.11 spice blend

2 small heads Little Gem or romaine hearts, separated into dark-green leaves and light-green hearts

Hazelnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil


Pickle the onions or scallions: Remove the root and outer membrane; using all of the white parts and about 3 inches of the green parts, slice the onions on the bias into ¼-inch pieces. Place the onions in a Mason jar.

In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, remove
from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, then pour over the onions. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season both sides with half of the Cancale spice blend and black pepper.

In a large skillet, heat the grapeseed oil until just smoking. Add the fish and cook over high heat until golden brown on one side, about 1 minute. Turn the fish over, add the butter and, when the butter begins to foam, baste the fish with it until the fish is cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the fish to a plate; leave the butter in the skillet and remove the skillet from the heat.

Add the dark-green lettuce leaves to the skillet and gently toss in the browned butter until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the wilted lettuce among the plates and top with the fish. Sprinkle with the remaining Cancale. In a small bowl, combine the light-green lettuce leaves with a few pinches of the pickled onions. Dress gently with hazelnut oil and a little of the pickling liquid, if desired. Top each plate with the salad and serve.


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