WHATS IN THE NUT?

Pecan Crusted Flounder Fillets

Ah, shelled Georgia pecans, the smell, yum! I just opened a new two pound bag of pecans and decided that instead of just eating them non - stop, I wanted to discover a delicious and truly healthy treat for tonight's supper for my husband. I have made fresh nut crumbs in the past, but never with pecans. This would certainly put a new twist to baked flounder. Now if you are like me and love the taste and aroma of fresh pecans, then how much better would it be to grind them and roast them and then coat the flounder fillets with these delicious fragrant crumbs. Because of their uneven texture, these crumbs will surely be a most sophisticated way of serving fish. I am the lucky owner of a vintage Mouli grater that I inherited from my Mom. After doing some internet research, I am reasonably certain that it was probably manufactured in the 1950’s. The Mouli grater is an old fashioned, classic French cooking tool. It is a rotary grater that you turn with your hand while pressing with the other hand on the hinged handle. I was surprised to see that there are still knock-off versions on sale online as well as vintage models with unexpectedly inexpensive prices. Of course, today, most people would use a food processor to grind their nuts or buy pecan nut meal ready made. However, a typical nut flour does not compare to the consistency of the crumbs I get with my Mouli grinder.

When I get ready to bake or fry flounder fillets, the first thing I do is wash them or soak them in cold water. Either I rub them with lemon juice or the best way is to make a water/lemon juice/ice bath for your fillets. This freshens them up and eliminates any fishy smell. I now present to you my newest most sumptuous, crunchy, non-fried flounder fillets topped with delectable pecan crunch.

Pecan Crunch Flounder Fillets, made with your own fresh ground pecans.

Step 1 - Go fishing for the freshest flounder. 

Step 2 - Go to the farm for the freshest eggs.

Step 3 - Grind your own pecan crumbs with a vintage nut grinder.

Okay guys, skip the first two steps.

You may go to your supermarket to buy the freshest flounder and eggs. But stay tuned for the coolest recipe for Fresh Pecan Crunch Baked Flounder Fillets made with my vintage Mouli grater.

Pecan Crunch Fillets of Flounder

  • 1 to one and a quarter pounds fresh flounder fillets ( not frozen)
  • 2 eggs any size
  • Non- stick cooking spray
  • 2 cups pecan crumbs ( recipe to follow)
  • 1 rectangular cookie sheet ( preferably not disposable)
  • Parchment paper
  • Spices of your personal choice
  • (optional water and lemon juice bath for fish)

Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F
  2. Grind your crumbs by placing the pecans in the grinder. You will have to do this several times if using the mouli grinder, since the opening to insert the nuts is small. Have a nice size plate or bowl to catch the crumbs so they don’t sneak onto your counter. Notice how the crumbs are not all consistent in size? This is great. If you find a couple of broken pecans that are not small enough to your liking, just reinsert them into the grinder. The beauty of this recipe is how the crumbs are three dimensional because of their varied consistency.
  3. Optional lemon water bath for fish. If you are like me, you prefer your fish with a less fishy smell and taste. Place enough cold water to cover the bottom of a rectangular pan or bowl. Take either fresh squeezed lemon juice or bottled is fine. (that’s what I use). Put a couple of squirts into the water, (about two tablespoons). Add some ice and you're set. Now place the fillets in a single layer in the pan. You may need to add more water to cover fillets. After five or ten minutes remove the fillets from the pan and dry them very well between paper towels. At this point, if the fillets are very large, you may cut them to whatever size you like.
  4. Cover the cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Spread the crumbs over the entire pan. Now is the time to be creative with your spices. Do you like zaatar or maybe a Cajun spice mix? There are many different ways to spice up your crumbs. Bake uncovered, in a preheated, 375° F oven, for approximately 15 minutes. Please watch that they don’t burn since all ovens are different. They should be a nice brown color. Remove pan from oven and let crumbs cool. ( This is important for a crisp coating). Place crumbs on large plate or bowl. 
  5. Cover the cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Spread the crumbs over the entire pan. Now is the time to be creative with your spices. Do you like zaatar or maybe a cajun spice mix? There are many different ways to spice up your crumbs. Bake uncovered, in a preheated, 375° F oven, for approximately 15 minutes. Please watch that they don’t burn since all ovens are different. They should be a nice brown color. Remove pan from oven and let crumbs cool. ( This is important for a crisp coating). Place crumbs on large plate or bowl.
  6. Line the cookie sheet with fresh parchment paper. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Place fillets neatly on the cookie sheet leaving a bit of room between each fillet. Using a pastry brush, paint one side of each fillet with egg. Press your homemade pecan crumbs onto the egged fillets. Using two hands, gently turn each fillet and repeat the egg painting and crumbs on the reverse side. Now turn the fillets back to the first side. You can, but do not have to spray the top if the fillets lightly with the cooking spray. Pecans have their own natural oil, so this step is discretionary.
  7. Bake fillets uncovered in a 400° F oven for 20 minutes. After removing the pan from the oven, let stand for several minutes so the crumbs will crisp up. The fillets should be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The pecan crumbs actually look and have a similar texture to bread crumbs. They actually leave you with a satiated feeling as though you have consumed panko crumbs or breadcrumbs.

You have just created a delicious breaded fish dish that is completely gluten free. What’s more, you are giving your family the nutritional benefits of pecans. It’s unbelievable but true, that pecans contain more than nineteen vitamins and minerals, including vitamins, A,B and E, folic acid, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium and more importantly, calcium. Pecans, are by far the most antioxidant- rich tree nut.  Pecans rank with the top fifteen foods with the highest levels of antioxidants. Next month, April, is National Pecan Month. Did you know that the pecan tree is the only tree nut native to North America? So, my friends, now you know there is much more to pecans than pecan pie.