Flounder or Fluke à l’Anglaise
When perfectly executed, the method of breading and frying food that is called à l’anglaise (English style) by the French and standard breading procedure by most American cooking professionals forms a case that keeps the grease out and lets the food inside it steam. The breading separate from the food – fish in the instance – creating a puffy bubble. The proper format is: season lightly, dredge in flour, dip in egg wash, drain and cover with breadcrumbs. The food must be completely sealed. For best results the breadcrumbs should be fresh and the fish breaded seconds prior to cooking. The fish can be deep-fried in hot oil or pan-fried in clarified butter, which is what I prefer. Besides flounder, many other kinds of fish, such as wolfish, tautog, ocean perch, tilefish, hake and Pollock, can be prepared à l’anglaise. Very small fish, like smelts and alewife, are ideal. Firm fish (swordfish, tuna, shark) and fatty fish like salmon and bluefish are not suitable.
- 2½ to 3 pounds skinless and boneless flounder or fluke fillets, 4 to 6 ounces each
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon peanut or other vegetable oil
- 2 cups breadcrumbs, preferably fresh white
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and/or chervil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 cup all-purpose or bread flour
- Peanut or other vegetable oil or clarified butter for frying
- Lemon wedges
- Tartar Sauce
- Check the fillets for bones. Mix the eggs with the milk and oil to make a wash. Mix the breadcrumbs with the herbs.
- If you are deep-frying, preheat the oil to 350°F. Season the fillets with salt and pepper and cayenne pepper, if using. Dredge in flour, shaking off any excess, then submerge in the egg wash. Drain lightly and place in the breadcrumbs. Cover the fillets quickly with the crumbs to form an airtight seal.
- If you are pan-frying, heat the clarified butter to very hot but not smoking. Place the fillets in the pan, cook for 3 minutes on each side. You may need to turn down the heat a bit if they begin to color too quickly. For deep-frying, place the fillets in the oil and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Drain on paper towels. For family-style dining it is nice to place the fillets on a large platter lined with white napkins. Sprinkle the parsley over the fillets and place the lemon wedges around the platter. Serve with tartar sauce.