Gluten Free Pan Fried Flounder with a Simple Risotto
This weekend I decided to try a gluten free diet for a while. For those not familiar, a gluten free (GF) diet is one that excludes foods that contain gluten. Ok, that's obvious! This mostly consists of wheat products but also barley and rye plus some food additives.
So mostly I have to stay away from bread products and pasta made from wheat flour. I don't eat a lot of bread anyway but pasta could be a problem so I found some pasta products at Trader Joe's made from rice flour. I'll be testing them out and reporting back.
If anyone has experience with GF diets and products they recommend, I would love to hear from you.
Why Gluten Free?
Good question. I'm not sure why except last week I spoke with a couple of friends who are gluten free because of allergies and they told me how great they feel since they removed gluten from their diets. I looked at what I would have to give up and all the possible substitutions and thought, "What the heck?" Let's see how I feel after a few weeks.
On Saturday my wife bought me some Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Rice Flour for basic cooking purposes and last night I had the opportunity to give it a try. My youngest daughter didn't like the idea that we were going to start cooking with rice flour and voiced her opinion.
I told her to give it a try and if she hated the gluten free products I purchased and the meals I made with them, I would continue to cook wheat flour pasta for her and rice flour pasta for me.
Pan Fried Flounder
So last night I cooked some fresh flounder fillets that fishmonger Andy sold me on Saturday. This fish was extremely fresh so I was hoping the Red Mill GF flour wouldn't add any funky flavors to it.
I already have a great recipe posted for Pan Fried Flounder with Potatoes and Parsley if you want more details and exact ingredient amounts but here's basically what I did last night.
I added some of the Red Mill Gluten Free Rice Flour to a pie plate, seasoned it with salt, pepper and Fisherman's Wharf seafood seasoning. Then I dredged the flounder filets in the seasoned flour and set it aside.
I then heated up a large, non stick frying pan over medium high heat and when it was good and hot I added a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter to the pan. Once that was hot but before the butter and oil started smoking, I added the seasoned filets.
Depending on the size of your flounder filets and how thick they are, it should take about 2 - 3 minutes per side to get them nicely browned and cooked through. Be sure to read my post called How to Prevent Fish From Sticking to the Pan. It is essentially a primer on how to cook fish perfectly.
Simple Risotto Side Dish
Many people think risotto is a pasta dish but it is not and can be part of my gluten free diet. Hurrah for me! Risotto is a rice dish made from Arborio or carnaroli rice that is nothing like the more familiar rice we're used to cooking with.
My doubting daughter Maddie helped her mother and me prepare a simple risotto made with Arborio rice, seafood stock, onions sautéed in butter and frozen peas. Nothing could be easier and the recipes above show you how it's done. Make extra because the kids are going to want it in their lunch boxes the next day.
Maddie also arranged our salad side of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, a staple at our house on many nights. Mom does the slicing and I finish with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Maddie then seasons the plate with freshly ground salt and black pepper.
I tried to make it look nice so I added some risotto to the plate, topped it with a filet of flounder, squeezed a little fresh lemon juice on top but added an extra wedge of lemon for those who like more juice. I finished the plate with some chopped fresh parsley.
Doesn't get better than this. Oh and for those wondering about the Gluten Free Rice Flour? The kids didn't notice any difference and devoured their entire meals and went back for seconds of the risotto. My wife and I thought the crust on the fish was better than usual but I'm not sure if it had anything to do with the flour or I'm just getting better at cooking fish.
Sorry for the photos being a little soft. I shot them with my iPhone instead of running upstairs to get my good camera. Oh, we served a delicious 2008 Hopper Creek Winery Chardonnay with this meal and it was perfect. Maybe too perfect and that's why I shot these photos with my iPhone.