Deep-fried flounder with green onion and chile seasoning
Serving for: 4 person(s)
Preparation time: 50 min.
1 1/2 lb (750 g) skinned, thick Paula Fish flounder fillets
canola oil, for deep-frying
1 small bunch of cilantro sprigs (for garnish)
lime wedges, for serving
GREEN ONION AND CHILI SEASONING:
canola oil for frying, 1 small onion (minced), 2 cloves garlic (minced), 1 medium-hot red chile pepper (thinly sliced), 2 green onions (thinly sliced), 1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes, 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (crushed)
1/3 cup (50 g) all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup (50 g) cornstarch, pinch of salt, 3/4 cup (175 ml) ice-cold soda water from a new bottle
The flatfish are an order (Pleuronectiformes) of ray-finned fish, also called the Heterosomata, sometimes classified as a suborder of Perciformes. A great way to prepare any whole flatfish that will fit in your skillet. The best way to eat it is to simply pick at the fish with a pair of chopsticks or your fingers.
1. For the green onion and chile seasoning, pour about 1/2 inch (1 cm) of canola oil into a frying pan and let it get hot. Add the minced onion and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until it is beginning to brown. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chile and fry until the onion and garlic are crisp and golden brown.
2. Lift the mixture out with a slotted spoon onto lots of paper towels and let cool completely. Then transfer to a bowl and mix in the green onions, salt, and Sichuan pepper.
3. For the batter, sift the flour, cornstarch, and salt into a bowl. Stir in the ice-cold soda water until only just mixed; it should be a bit lumpy.
4. To fillet the fish, cut around the back of the head, down to the backbone, using a sharp, thin-bladed, flexible knife. Then make a cut down the center of the fish, from head to tail.
5. Starting at the head, slide the knife under one fillet and carefully cut it away, keeping the blade as flat and as close to the bones as possible. Remove the adjacent fillet, then turn the fish over and repeat.
6. Lay the fillet skin-side down, with the narrowest end facing you. Hold the tip of the skin with your fingers and, angling the blade of the knife down toward the skin and working it away from you, start to cut between the flesh and the skin. Firmly take hold of the skin and continue to work away from you, sawing the knife from side to side, keeping the blade close against the skin until the fillet is released.
7. Trim the frills away from the edge of the skin less fillet to give it a neat finish.
8. Heat some oil for deep-frying to 375°F (190°C). Meanwhile, season the flounder fillets with salt on both sides and cut them into strips about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide.
9. Dip the strips of flounder into the batter a few at a time, then drop them into the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes, until golden. Drain briefly on paper towels and keep hot while you cook the rest.
10. Pile the fried flounder on a serving platter and sprinkle with the green onion and chile seasoning. Scatter the fresh cilantro sprigs all over and serve straight away, with the lime wedges.