Anyone who doesn’t relish flounder stuffed with a shrimp and crabmeat dressing either hasn’t ever eaten any or is a dyed-in-the-wool philistine. Preparing the flounder for stuffing, though, causes many folks some grief. Here’s a quick and easy way to satisfy everyone – fish in the 3 to 4-pound range are ideal.
(1) Scale, gut, and de-head the fish. With its dark side up and tail facing away from you, insert a fillet knife at the base of the right (anal) side of the fish and at about the point where the backbones and anal fin bones join. Cut towards the ribs along that line, then cut around the ribs and up the shoulder to the point where the backbones and dorsal fin bones join, exposing that juncture but no more. Now re-trace the cut, carefully extending it across the backbones and spine until this top “flap” is held in place only by the dorsal fin bones and a thin strip of meat right alongside them
(2) Turn the fish over, insert the fillet knife just behind the ribs at a point near the juncture of the backbones and anal fin bones, and make a cut along that line to the base of the tail. Then cut around the ribs and across the shoulders as in step 1. Extend the cut across the backbones and spine to expose the juncture between the backbones and dorsal fin bones as in step 1.
(3) Cut through the spine at the base of the tail. Now cut through the juncture between the backbones and dorsal fin bones, ensuring you do not cut through the meat on the other side of the fish.
(4) Remove the backbones, spine, and ribs, pack the envelope full of stuffing, close it, broil it all until the meat flakes, and enjoy it with a glass of very cold Vouvray.
That’s some good eatin’ cher!