Here’s a crowd-pleasing dinner that takes less than an hour to make: crisp, corn-crusted fish served over an easy corn-scallion sauté. The weather has been so fresh and cool this month that I was craving something hearty, but still summery. And this dish fits the bill. It was even a hit with our five-year-old.
A note on adaptations: The original recipe, which ran in a 2007 issue of Yankee, calls for summer flounder (also known as fluke, or simply “flounder”). I substituted lemon sole and it was terrific. I also didn’t happen to have any wheat germ on hand (we’re staying at a rented lake house this week), but a straight cornmeal crust worked beautifully. And instead of sprinkling chives and basil over the top, I simply used basil. Again, delicious.
Crispy Summer Flounder with Sautéed Corn and Scallions
Total time: 50 minutes; hands-on time: 50 minutes
Toasted wheat germ and cornmeal combine to create a light, crunchy crust for this delicate white fish, but you can simply use cornmeal, if you prefer. Soaking the fillets in milk before cooking plumps the meat and helps keep it moist.
1-1/2 pounds boneless summer flounder (fluke) fillets or other thin, white fish
1 cup milk
2 bunches scallions (about 6), trimmed and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups corn kernels (about 5 ears)
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup packed small fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup minced chives
1 large lemon, cut into 6 wedges
Place fish in a large dish and cover with milk. Refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook scallions in 3 tablespoons oil until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in garlic and corn; cook 3 minutes. Reduce heat to very low, cover, and keep warm.In a large, flat dish, stir together wheat germ, cornmeal, salt, and cayenne. Remove fish from refrigerator and drain off milk. Dredge each fillet in wheat germ-cornmeal mixture and place on a baking sheet. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high setting. Place half the fillets in pan and cook 3 minutes on each side, adding more oil and adjusting heat slightly if they start to brown too quickly. Transfer cooked fillets to a platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet and cook remaining fillets.
Just before serving, season corn mixture with salt to taste. Spoon some corn onto individual plates and top each serving with a fish fillet and lemon wedge. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Let guests squeeze lemon over fish at the table. Yield: 4 to 6 servings