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Feb 1, 2008 05:04 AM

Frank Stitt’s Southern Table: Fish & Shellfish

February 2008 Cookbook of the Month, Frank Stitt’s Southern Table.

Please post your full-length reviews of fish and shellfish recipes here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

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  1. Oyster Pan Roast on p 137 is a favorite. I usually serve it as a first course.

    Flounder with Clam Chowder Sauce is a winner too. If i had the ingredients on hand we'd be having it again for dinner tonight. It is cold a windy so I don't feel like going out. Maybe tomorrow.

    1. Flounder with Bread Crumbs and Sauce Gribiche, p. 147

      Another winner - dinner Saturday night. The fish remained tender and moist, with a nice crispy breading. I think I cooked it just 3 minutes on the second side. I did doctor the gribiche just a little bit - thought it needed more lemon juice, salt, and also added a splash of vinegar as he suggests. Would have added an anchovy, but didn't have any.

      1. Flounder with Clam Chowder Sauce

        Made this for dinner on Sunday night. The sauce is wonderful, though I cut the recipe in half for some things, I bought 9 clams and made the whole amount of sauce, and am glad that I did, because it seemed just the right amount for the two of us - my husband is a sauce glutton. The two filets were a bit over a pound, and too much for us (we'd had pasta with bottarga for lunch). It did not brown as nicely as I would have liked, and my filets keep breaking when I flip them - I have a fish spatula but maybe I need a longer one. Next time I might dredge them in flour. I missed that I was supposed to get filets with the skin on this time, so I cooked them for less time than he suggested. I also just cooked the bacon in the fish pan before cooking the fish - one less pan. (He was rivaling Goin for pans used on this one!) Blanching the celery left the pieces nice and crispy in the sauce. I overcooked the potato pieces a bit - he says to cook until just tender, but I missed that bit. I do wish he would give more specific times for some things. So, I didn't add the potatoes to the sauce as I reduced it, but just added them in at the end. All in all - delicious, and something I'll make again. Clam chowder is too creamy for me, but this was just right.

        5 Replies
        1. re: MMRuth

          I love that dish. It looks perfect to me. Darling puppy!

          1. re: MMRuth

            I'm paraphrasing this for Harters, but putting it here in case anyone looks for this in the future:

            Flounder with Clam Chowder Sauce - Serves 4

            12 littleneck clams, well scrubbed and rinsed (these are NA clams, larger than cockles - I would just use what you see fit)
            2 T unsalted butter
            1 shallot, finely minced (I used red onion this last time)
            Several thyme sprigs
            1 cup white wine
            1/2 cup heavy cream (I assuming your "regular" cream, not double cream)
            2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch dice, cooked in boiling salted water until just tender (I used tiny new potatoes this time)
            1 T veg. oil
            Four 6 - 8 oz flounder fillets, skin on (he mentions that "any impeccably fresh firm-fleshed white fish, sole, halibut, or cod, will suffice for this dish".)
            12 lardons (1 by 1/2 inch strips) apple smoked bacon (I just used regular bacon slices this time)
            Small handful flat leaf parsely or chervil sprigs,
            leaves removed
            4 small celery stalks, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch slices, and blanched in boiling salted water for 30 seconds.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Paraphrased directions:

              Combine clams, 1 T butter, shallot, thyme in sauce pan, cook over med. heat, stir occasionally for 2 minutes of so. When shallots are soft, add the wine, cover, shake the pan, and stem the clams. I start checking after about four minutes, and start removing the clams that are open. Keep the opened clams warm, and strain the liquid, reserving 3/4 cup of it for the sauce.

              Combine reserved broth and cream in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce by half. Then keep warm while you cook the fish. He says to add the potatoes to this before bringing it to a boil, but I don't.

              Heat oil and one T butter in saute pan - until hot not smoking - add flounder (seasoned w/ salt and pepper) flesh side down. Cook on medium until flesh is light gold on one side (3-5 min) then flip, and cook until "just opaque throughout".

              Bacon - he says to cook it over medium heat while cooking the fish - until fat is rendered and it's a bit crispy, then remove and drain on paper towel. I usually just do that ahead of time.

              Finally - add clams, bacon, parsley (and potatoes) to the sauce, and warm it up. Add celery, then put into bowls, with flounder on top.

              1. re: MMRuth

                I forgot to add - if I were making this for four, I would double all of the ingredients except the fish, in order to have a decent amount of sauce.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Many thanks - cut and pasted to my "must try" file.


          2. Red Snapper with Provencal Tomato Sauce, p. 158

            Beautiful sauce that was pretty easy to make - fennel taste was not overwhelming - was worried b/c my husband doesn't love fennel. The orange flavor was lovely. I skipped the potatoes as the baked oysters with which we started were quite heavy, and served asparagus with a squeeze of Meyer lemon juice and some zest and olive oil on the side.

            And I still need to get a larger fish spatula - or start eating smaller pieces.

            I only made two filets, but the full amount of sauce, since my husband loves sauce.

            4 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              That looks lovely, MMRuth. I've been avoiding COTM this month thinking very little in the book would help me get off the 20 pounds I put on during the first six months of COTM. Guess I should have taken a closer look--especially at the fish recipes.

              As for a larger fish spatula, don't know whether this would do it for you, but I bought this one at Zabar's about a year ago and it's perfect for fish and omelets. If one can fall for a spatula, I've fallen for this one.


              1. re: JoanN

                Thanks for the spatula link. And, while I've cooked my share of fattening recipes from this book, I've also been on the look out for non-fattening ones, and this one fits the bill - and I'm sure would have been just as tasty with a little less olive oil.

                1. re: JoanN

                  Joan N:

                  The spatula looks great, but I have a question. I popped for two Mario B silicone spatulas and they are less than stellar. They don't have enough stiffness to stay flat when picking up something to flip. The something therefore falls back into the pan. Really makes me furious. Does this spatula keep its shape and not collapse when anything is on top of it?

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    This spatula is *definitely* sturdy. Except for a half inch around the curved side of the spatula, which is very thin so you can can slip it easily under a delicate fillet of fish for example, the rest of it is silicone-covererd metal. It's hard to tell, but I think the metal is an extension of the handle. You couldn't make this guy collapse if you wanted to. And the straight side has a raised lip, which helps keep the food in place on the spatula before you flip it or transfer it to a plate. This was definitely one of my better kitchen-toy buys of last year. Very highly recommended.