Gorgeous flounder fillets stuffed with garlicky, creamy spinach, topped with super savory crunchy panko - let me introduce you to the star of your next dinner party and the easy recipe your whole family will love.
Stuffing flounder with a luxurious creamed spinach filling takes a humble white fish fillet and makes it restaurant-worthy. I love easy recipes like this one because they take a handful of simple ingredients and use an easy technique like rolling the fish to turn an otherwise ho-hum entree into something any seafood lover would be proud to serve.
Here's what you need to make this stuffed flounder florentine recipe:
- flounder fillets
- frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- fresh garlic cloves
- heavy cream
- Parmesan cheese
- lemon zest
- kosher salt, pepper, paprika, red pepper flakes and oregano
- olive oil
- Panko breadcrumbs
Step by step instructions for stuffed flounder recipe:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Dry the flounder fillets well with paper towels. Whole flounder is a quirky fish - producing smaller pieces of fish than many typical white fish fillets. So you may need to lay several fillets side-by-side to form the base of the roll. Place fish fillets flat on a baking sheet or shallow baking pan lined with parchment.
Season each filet with salt, pepper and paprika. Set aside.
In a large skillet or cast iron pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium low heat. Add finely diced shallots and garlic cloves, and a pinch of sea salt and red pepper flakes, if using. Sauté gently until fragrant and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.
Add thawed and drained spinach to the pan and toss briefly. Add the heavy cream, ⅓ cup parmesan and half of the lemon zest. Stir to combine and heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons parmesan, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, ½ teaspoon oregano and ½ salt. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.
Spoon about ¼ cup creamy spinach mixture in the center of each filet.
Roll gently, or just fold the filets over the top of the stuffing and tuck under to form a roll. I like to roll the thick side of flounder so it is on the top of the roll, with the seam side down.
Divide the seasoned panko and parmesan topping over the top of the fish fillet rolls.
Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with lemon wedges.
FAQ's and Tips:
The parmesan cream in the spinach stuffing is giving you an inside out sauce for the fish. But if you're looking for an extra creamy fish dish, whip up a quick batch of parmesan cream sauce or this lemon butter sauce would also be a winner.
Absolutely. Be sure the seafood is cooked, but otherwise, go to town. I think fresh crab meat or shrimp stuffing in the creamy spinach would be delicious, or perhaps a mixture of crabmeat and shrimp together. If you have crawfish or langoustine lobster, that would add delicious flavor and texture.
You can stuff and bake portobello mushrooms or zucchini with leftover creamy stuffing mixture. I've also spooned it over a baked potato and been very pleased with the results.
You could make homemade breadcrumbs from any odds and ends you have in your freezer - just use a cheese grater or mandolin to grate the frozen bread, then proceed to season as directed in the recipe. Crushing saltine crackers would also make a great topping. In that case, you might melt butter and use it in the place of the olive oil before seasoning the cracker crumbs and topping the fresh seafood. And you always have the option of regular or Italian seasoned breadcrumbs. If using pre-seasoned, just add parmesan and lemon zest, and taste to determine if additional seasoning is required.
You sure can - extra red pepper flakes will add heat to both the filling and the crispy topping. Sprinkling cayenne over the fish or adding hot sauce to the filling will increase the heat. A spicy cajun seasoning would also add heat and flavor.
Red snapper and salmon would be good vessels for this creamy spinach stuffing. If using a thicker fish fillet that doesn't take well to rolling, cut a slit in the top of the fillet and stuff the picket with the flavorful stuffing, then spread it across the top of the fillet before sprinkling the seasoned breadcrumbs on top and baking.
To store, wrap tightly with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. I don't recommend freezing the salmon once it's been cooked.
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