Gatherings: Catch of the Century
Rich with flavor and history, Bruning’s crabmeat-stuffed flounder lives on and lives well
Food trends come and go, but classic cuisine is always in good taste. In their recently released book, Lost Restaurants of New Orleans, authors Peggy Scott Laborde and Tom Fitzmorris celebrate our city’s culinary past, which is as rich as the dishes of its day. Pages of period photos, stories and factoids make this a must-read for any foodie, and more than 40 original recipes, such as this one from Bruning’s Restaurant (the West End icon graces the book’s cover), prove that while some neighborhood favorites might be gone, they are surely not forgotten.
Bruning’s Whole Flounder Stuffed with Crabmeat
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup flour
3 green onions, chopped
3 cups shrimp stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pound claw crabmeat (or crawfish in season)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne
4 large whole flounders
1 tablespoon salt-free Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup clarified butter
1 lemon, sliced
Chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Make the stuffing first. Melt the butter, and stir in the flour to make a blond roux. Stir in the green onions, and cook until limp. Whisk in the shrimp stock and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to a boil. Add the crabmeat, salt and cayenne. Gently toss crabmeat in the sauce to avoid breaking the lumps.
Wash the flounders, and pat them dry. Mix the Creole seasoning and salt into the flour, and coat the outside of the flounders with it. Mix the eggs and milk together in a wide bowl, pass the fish through it, and then dredge it in the seasoned flour again.
Heat the clarified butter in a skillet, and sauté the fish, one at a time, about 4 minutes on each side, turning once. Remove, and keep warm.
Cut a slit from head to tail across the tops of the flounders. Divide stuffing among the fish, spooning it inside the slit and piling it on top. Place the flounders on a baking pan, and bake for 6 minutes.
Place the flounders on hot plates. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh chopped parsley. Serves 4 to 8.
Recipe courtesy of Lost Restaurants of New Orleans (Pelican Publishing, 2011) and Bruning’s Restaurant.