Why Flounder Is A Perfect Fish For Winning Over Seafood Haters

Raw flounder on cutting board
Raw flounder on cutting board - sweet marshmallow/Shutterstock

Evoking the spirit of the ocean itself, seafood is a delicacy that comes in many different shapes, sizes, and shells. Delicious as it is for many, seafood is an acquired taste for others. But can you blame them? The silky, satisfying texture of oysters may be slimy and strange to some, and the fatty fabulousness of tuna might be freaky for a few folks. But if you need to turn a seafood skeptic into a fish fanatic, turn to flounder.

Unlike some fish, which may flaunt that quintessential "fishy" flavor, flounder boasts a mild, slightly sweet taste accented by buttery notes and nutty undertones, perfect for those who are new to seafood or have a difficult time getting it down. Because it has a more mellow taste than some other fish -- one likened to the laid-back flavor of halibut -- flounder is easily dressed up with seasonings, spices, and sauces, making it more appealing to picky eaters. If your seafood-averse friends can't stomach the smell of fish, they don't need to fret when flounder's on the menu. With its fresh, clean, and delicately briny scent, flounder rouses rather than ravages the senses.

Read more: 12 Underrated Types Of Fish You Should Try At Least Once

Preparing A Perfect Flounder

Person sprinkling salt on flounder
Person sprinkling salt on flounder - Gmvozd/Getty Images

Adding to its approachable flavor and smell, flounder also bears a light, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth texture that can be prepared and cooked in many different ways. The easiest ways to prepare flounder are baking and pan-searing. A foil-baked flounder with lemon and herbs is quick and simple and comes out teeming with a citrusy freshness that livens up its gracefully reserved flavor.

On the other hand, pan-searing flounder with brown butter will give the fish a delicate char and a slightly crunchy exterior that gives way to a rich and succulent interior. If you want a more adventurous and complex flounder experience, deep-frying and sandwiching it between two toasty brioche buns with a crunchy, refreshing slaw makes for the perfect fried fish burger that offers a crunchy textural contrast to its dainty lusciousness.

Flounder's gentle taste is great on its own, but don't hesitate to cook it with fresh garlic and onion for that satisfying allium twist or zhuzh it up with smoky paprika. For something more rich and hearty, bake it with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs for an added layer of deliciousness. Need a mouthwateringly delicious condiment? A dill-infused yogurt sauce provides an herbaceous, fatty tang that accentuates flounder's naturally refreshing flavor.

Flounder is sold both frozen and fresh, but make sure you know the red flags to look for when buying fresh seafood. Flounder with any discoloration, gaping in its flesh's texture, or metallic, ultra-fishy smells won't win over seafood haters, even when it's smothered in butter.

Pairing Flounder Perfectly

Cooked flounder with potatoes and rice
Cooked flounder with potatoes and rice - Jacek Chabraszewski/Shutterstock

Now that you know how to purchase and prepare flounder, you'll need the perfect pairings for a well-rounded meal. Luckily, your options for complementary side dishes and refreshments to tempt your fish-wary friends aren't limited.

For something nutrient-dense and light, steamed veggies like asparagus, broccoli, and green beans are the perfect sides. Their earthy, folksy flavor is a grounding contrast to the sweetness of the fish. Similarly, a simple mixed greens salad is a lightweight side dish with a leafy, crispy quality that counters the succulent flakiness of flounder. Craving something hearty? Roasted or buttery mashed potatoes are comforting, rich, and savory, adding a warming coziness to the freshness of the fish. Of course, you can never go wrong with a crusty, buttered baguette to reset the palate.

For a wine pairing, go for something light, citrusy, and crisp like a pinot grigio that matches the essence of the flounder. Look for the same profile when pairing flounder with beer -- a light-bodied pilsner or a wheat beer with a fruity aftertaste make excellent choices. As a non-alcoholic option, a bubbly sparking water or semi-sweet lemonade can bolster the freshness of flounder.

Next time you're craving fish in a crowd of seafood cynics, show them the light with a flounder dish. Whether you like it simple and plain or dressed to the nines, this mild-mannered and easy-to-eat fish will please anyone.

Read the original article on Daily Meal