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Floundering Seaside: Crab Stuffed Flounder Done Two Ways

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The cold weather is starting to get to me.  ME!?  The guy that loves cold, snow, winter, all that stuff.  But it’s been so cold for so long that I can’t remember the last time I walked out on my ice covered driveway without fearing for my life or at least a trip to the emergency room.  It made me long for warm weather and the beach and that’s what made me remember this recipe from Dad and Tom’s trip to Dauphin Island, Alabama, last year.  It took Dad forever to get me the write up, and then I lost the pictures, and then I found that none of the vacationers noticed that the flash never worked in any of the pictures that were taken after dark. There were some great early pics when the sun was up, but after the sun set, the picture quality went into the crapper and thus needed to be edited.  Nine months later, it finally goes up.  This is the first post in which we had to play with the pictures in any way other than cropping.  I’ve got a post coming up about grouper that we had to edit the pics too.  I’ll hand it over to Dad now…
We made this seafood grilling recipe ocean-side on Dauphin Island, Alabama:

This treat was suggested by the ever-knowledgeable John, who is on the staff at Skinner’s Seafood Shop.  Simply, fresh flounder fillets are wrapped around the inside of small foil containers and the center filled with crab cake mixture.

Two of The Grillin’ Fools, and Dan, ventured to Skinner’s to begin the process.  Blondie (Kelly) quickly, and with a smile I might add, extracted fillets from fresh gulf flounder.  The gal is a wizard with a fillet knife.

Here she is working her magic:

Dan supervising:

Here’s photo of what is left of the flounder:

Tom, Dan, and I returned to the condo where Dan assumed the role of sous chef preparing many of the ingredients for the crab cake mixture.  I was chosen, lucky me, to sift through a pound of claw crab meat and carefully remove any remaining bits of shell.  Please note that lump crab meat could be used, but according to the locals the claw is sweeter.  We always like to do what the locals do—is there any better advice?

This is the crab cake recipe modified slightly from someone who knows a thing or two about crab cakes: Emeril.

Ingredients for crab cakes

2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup finely chopped yellow onions
¼ cup finely chopped celery
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped green onions
2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 lb. lump crabmeat
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan-Reggiano
2 large eggs lightly beaten
½ cup Italian-style bread crumbs
2 ½ tsp Creole Seasoning

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add onions, celery, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the green onions and parsley and cook until wilted, about one minute, then remove form the heat.

Place the crab meat in a large bowl and add the cooked vegetables.  Add the mayonnaise, cheese, and egg and stir gently with a large wooden spoon.  Add the bread crumbs and stir gently:

While prepping the crab cake mixture, make up the tin foil bowls with the flounder inside.  Spray the bowls with non stick cooking spray or a little vegetable oil and arrange the flounder fillets around the outside:

Tom then spoons the crab cake mixture into the center of the foil tins.

Then add a pat of butter to each tin:

Voila – crab stuffed flounder.

The tins are taken to the balcony where the traveling grill is fired up with coals on the left and seafood pies on the right:

We decided to speed up the process a bit with some direct grilling to get things rolling:

The crab stuffed flounder tins were rotated 15 minutes in and they were looking good but Tom wasn’t satisfied with the texture of the crab cake mixture so they were popped under the broiler for 5 minutes to crisp a bit. In retrospect, I would suggest pre-cooking the crab cake mixture partially in a skillet prior to spooning into the foil tins.  Hey!  We’re really cooking here, and remember, we do show our mistakes.

This was our first ever attempt at this recipe—notice the lack of actual cooking time?  That may be attributed to those glasses of Chalk Hill Chard.  We were on vacation after all:

Ready to eat:

Sides accompanying the crab stuffed flounder were some spectacular green beans Glenda prepared, boiled fresh gulf shrimp with cocktail sauce, and that wonderful Lighthouse Bakery French bread.

Our trip to this area includes many visits to the bakery operated by Mary and Daniel Scarcliff.

The mini-loaves of French bread are legendary and I always arrange to pick up several dozen on the last day there to travel back home for use in recreating some island recipes.  Everything prepared at this establishment has always been superb including cinnamon rolls, crab quiche (simply amazing!), chocolate chip cookies, and danishes to mention a few—the hot chocolate, according to the gals, may be the best they’ve ever had.  Sandwiches from the deli menu are very large and quite tasty too.  The owners and staff are friendly and extremely accommodating.  A visit to the island is not complete without the treats from Lighthouse Bakery.

Here’s the final meal plated:

Once crab stuffed flounder was devoured, the consensus was that we should do this again soon.  This can be duplicated rather easily at home and almost any delicate whitefish will substitute for flounder should it be difficult to find in your area.  The combination of flavors and textures of this dinner will make it a regularly repeated vacation favorite.

Here is a second version of crab stuffed flounder grilled 3 days later after Tom and Dan caught several one evening at the home of Cameron Moore, owner of Richee’s Barbeque Sauce (warning, the next three pictures are doctored to add color thanks to no flash.  Dan, in the middle, isn’t really that orange):

To give you and idea of how big some of the flounder is, this is a standard Coleman cooler:

This time around we didn’t have the ingredients for fresh crab cakes but found a ready-to-go mixture for sale at Skinner’s and decided to give it a try.  This is so easy–simply stuff the folded fillets of flounder with the crab cake mixture and secure with a toothpick:

Once they are wrapped securely it’s time to fire up the grill. A perforated grill pan is employed—sometimes a good idea with seafood that can trickle through the grill grates.

Tom is handling the grilling duties while I man, a feeble attempt at best, Scott’s DSLR to capture delicious images to share with everyone.

Tom now bastes the grilled stuffed flounder with a blend of melted butter and minced garlic resulting in a few flare ups.

Once the flounder is opaque and a little outer crisp is on the crab cake stuffing, we’re ready to dine:

The grilled crab stuffed flounder was accompanied by sides of rice pilaf, a spinach-strawberry-almond salad with raspberry dressing, and more of that French bread.  The Chalk Hill Chard was a nice addition to this seafood delight as well:

Once dinner is complete Tracy ventures out to the deck to view the pending sunset.

If you have any questions about the grilled crab stuffed flounder, Skinner’s Seafood, the Lighthouse Bakery, or Dauphin Island in general, feel free to leave a comment below orshoot me an email.

If you would like to see other grilled seafood recipes, click here.

Also, you can follow us on the Grillin Fools Facebook page, and post your own grilling pictures, share grilling recipes or join the general grilling conversation.  You can keep up with what we’re doing on Twitter @GrillinFool as well

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  • Geoff

    The recipe looks great. One question – what was the total cooking time and temperature for the version where you cooked the flounder/crab in the tin foil bowls? Thanks

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