Crab-stuffed flounder is actually easy to make. Photo and recipe courtesy Westside Market | New York City.
February 18th is National Crab-Stuffed Flounder Day. The recipe is easy to make, and gives the appearance of a “fancy” preparation. You can stuff any white fish fillet with crab meat.
Before buying crab, note that there are four grades of meat. In order of expense, they are:
Jumbo lump crab meat, the largest, snow-white lumps.
Lump/backfin crab meat, the same color, flavor and texture of jumbo lump, but is in slightly smaller pieces
White crab meat, smaller white pieces ideal for recipes where the size and shape of the crab flakes become indistinguishable, such as crab cakes.
Claw crab meat, the reddish-brown claw and leg meat which is actually more flavorful and is preferred by many (who also and appreciate the lower price) and is the best to use in spicy dishes, where the flavor best holds up to the spices,
So the best crab meat to use in this recipe is claw or white, depending on preference and availability.
¼ cup chopped parsley or dill plus more for garnish
½ cup plain breadcrumbs
8 ounces crab meat, picked over
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 tablespoon cayenne
4 8-ounce flounder or tilapia fillets
1 teaspoon paprika
Optional garnish: lemon slice or wedge, parsley or dill sprigs
1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 9 x13-inch ovenproof dish.
2. MELT the butter in a skillet. Add the onion and celery and sauté until soft. Stir in the parsley or dill. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, crab meat, lemon juice and cayenne.
3. DIVIDE the crab meat mixture among the fillets and roll them up; hold together with toothpicks. Place the fish seam side down in a baking dish. Sprinkle the paprika over the fish.
4. BAKE for 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish with dill and lemon before serving.
CRAB MEAT OR CRABMEAT?
You’ll see both uses. Which is correct?
“Crab meat” is more correct, although the incorrect “crabmeat” has eased into acceptance over time (spell or pronounce something incorrectly enough and people accept it as right).
Claw meat and leg meat are darker but more flavorful and less expensive. Use it in recipes where the crab gets fully blended with other ingredients. Photo courtesy Phillips Crab.
Whenever you’re confused about how to write something, think of other uses. For example, lobster meat is the correct form; you’d never write “lobstermeat.”