How to Cook Flounder Filet in a Pan

Cooking flounder in a pan on the stovetop is a simple way to prepare this mild fish. Whether panfried or sauteed, flounder fillets need only some seasoning and a splash of fresh lemon juice when cooking to become a flavorful dish. Flounder is naturally low in fat and calories, containing only 73 calories and 2 grams of fat in a 3-ounce serving, and it is also a good source of phosphorus and vitamins B-12 and D. Cooking the fillets in oil or butter adds a few calories, and breading adds even more, so choose your cooking technique carefully if you are counting calories.

Two flounder filets cooking in pan (Image: hlphoto/iStock/Getty Images)

Saute

Step 1

Season the flounder fillets with salt and pepper to taste. Experiment with other seasonings that will complement the fish as well, such as lemon-pepper or dill.

Step 2

Coat the bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil, and preheat it over medium heat. You can also use butter to saute the flounder, but avoid other cooking oils, such as vegetable or peanut oil, as they will add calories but won't add much flavor to the finished dish.

Step 3

Add the seasoned flounder fillets to the pan when the oil begins to shimmer. Saute the flounder for roughly 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until the flesh becomes opaque and is firm to the touch. If you are unsure if the fish is done, use an instant-read thermometer. The flounder is thoroughly cooked if the internal temperature is 145 Fahrenheit.

Step 4

Remove the flounder from the pan and let it rest for a few minutes. Serve it with wedges of fresh lemon. To add color to the dish and a little extra flavor, sprinkle a touch of paprika or freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley or dill over the fish.

Panfry

Step 1

Add an equal mix of olive oil and butter to a heavy skillet. Preheat the mixture over medium-high heat.

Step 2

Place the flour in a shallow dish and season it with salt and pepper. Add any other dried spices at this point as well, such as lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika or garlic powder. If you prefer a light coating on your flounder, prepare it with just the seasoned flour coating. Continue on to the next step for a heavier breading.

Step 3

Combine the eggs and milk, and place the mixture in a shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs or panko in another shallow dish. Panko is a very light Japanese breadcrumb that will give your dish a lighter texture and flavor. Dip the floured fillets in the egg mixture and then in the breadcrumbs or panko.

Step 4

Lay the breaded flounder in the skillet when the butter has melted and the oil begins to shimmer. Fry the fish for 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning only once to prevent the breading from coming apart from the fish before it has bonded. Remove the fish from the pan when an instant-read thermometer reads 145 Fahrenheit.

Step 5

Serve the breaded fish simply with wedges of fresh lemon and a side of tartar sauce.

Things You'll Need

  • Skinless fillets of flounder

  • Sauteed flounder:

  • Heavy-bottomed saute pan

  • Olive oil

  • Kosher or sea salt

  • Coarsely ground black pepper

  • Instant-read thermometer

  • Fresh lemon wedges

  • Panfried flounder:

  • Olive oil

  • Butter

  • All-purpose flour

  • Kosher or sea salt

  • Ground black pepper

  • Eggs, lightly beaten

  • Breadcrumbs or panko

  • Spatula

  • Fresh lemon wedges

  • Tartar sauce

Tip

If you panfry your flounder with a simple coating of seasoned flour, follow celebrity chef Bobby Flay's lead and create a piccata-inspired sauce to drizzle over the fish. After you remove the fish from the pan, turn the heat to high and deglaze the pan with some dry white wine. Use a wooden spoon to get up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add an additional tablespoon of butter and the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer for a few minutes. The residual flour in the pan from the fish will thicken the sauce slightly as it simmers.

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