As the heady scent of anise releases from the fresh tarragon leaves and perfumes my cheesy cream reduction, this spring onion gratin crusts over and forms the perfect platform for saucing my freshly filleted flounder. With each bite of the rich sauce coating the tangy onions and delicate flounder, this Baked Flounder with Spring Onion Gratin is a delicious combination.
For me, flounder is about as good as it gets when it comes to Gulf finfish, and I seek it out in fish markets and on restaurant menus alike. I like eating broiled whole flounder stuffed with crabmeat dressing, but in this Baked Flounder with Spring Onion Gratin, the simplicity of preparation of seasoning, and baking the individual fillets is both easy and tasty.
Removing the fleshy fillets of flounder from the bones of the whole fish assures you’re dining on the freshest fish available. With the help of a flexible boning knife, the sweet meat comes away in perfect morsels. In this recipe, I am pairing my flounder with spring onions in an unusual culinary interpretation.
Let’s talk about the varieties of long-stemmed green onions: scallions, green onions, and spring onions. Some think they are all the same, and they are partially correct. Green onions and scallions are the same. Here in Cajun country, we call them green onions, and any gumbo or étouffée wouldn’t be the same without a sprinkling of diced green onion tops. Spring onions, on the other hand, are larger with a more pronounced bulb on the bottom. Stronger in onion flavor, spring onions are cooked (grilled, roasted, and baked) into a variety of dishes across many ethnic cultures.
In my Baked Flounder with Spring Onion Gratin, I’m leaving my spring onions whole and baking them–long green stems and all–in a shallow baking dish filled with heavy cream spiked with the sharp flavors of tarragon and white pepper. This is an easy recipe that packs a punch of herby flavor reduced into a thick and cheesy gratin that mellows the bite of the onion. With a sprinkling of Parmesan and a quick flash under the broiler, it’s ready in a matter of minutes.
Follow my lead and enjoy this Baked Flounder with Spring Onion Gratin–a delicious combination.
- 8 whole spring onions (bulbs and green tops attached)
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 (6-ounce) flounder fillets
- 1 teaspoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 lemon slices, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon diced green onion tops, for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- In a 9x12-inch ovenproof baking dish coated with non-stick spray, add the spring onions in a row along the bottom. Pour in the cream, and add the tarragon and white pepper. Place into the oven and bake until the cream begins to reduce and thicken by half, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Return the dish to the oven and adjust the temperature to broil. Watch as the sauce thickens and the cheese begins to brown along the top and edges, about 1 minute. Turn off the oven and remove before it burns.
- Sprinkle the flounder fillets with Cajun seasoning and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter, garlic, and lemon, and once it begins sizzling, add the fillets. Cook on one side until browned, about 3 minutes, and then turn and cook on the other side for 2 minutes longer, or until the fish is cooked through. Remove from the pan and place the fillets into the baking dish on top of the spring onions, and garnish with lemon slices and zest, as well as green onion tops. Place back into the warm oven for a couple of minutes and serve once your guests are seated.
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