Butter Fried Flounder Roe

It was below freezing the other day and as I wandered through the sparse Union Square Farmer’s Market, I noticed all the vendors had their normally refrigerated goods spread out on their tables (it was that cold). The only exception was the flower guy, who had all his flowers in his van with the heater running.

There’s a fish monger that’s always there, but I’ve never actually purchased anything from them because it just didn’t seem right to have fish sitting out in the middle of a sweltering New York summer (even though the fish is technically on ice). The ambient temperature on Friday was cooler than what I have my refrigerator set at, so I figured it would be safe to take a peak. It was late in the day and their selection was limited, but I noticed a shallow bowl filled with gorgeous pinkish orange roe tucked away in the very back of their display. “What IS that?” I inquired.

Unfortunately the girl manning the stall wasn’t able to tell me much beyond the fact that it was flounder roe and it’s price. Curiosity perked, I picked up half a pound and brought it home, getting all excited about all the possibilities… Salt cured…. simmered in soy sauce, maybe even Cioppino (an SF classic)…

Alas, it was getting late and I decided the best way to profile the texture and flavour would be a simple preparation so I went for a quick fry in some hot butter, topping it with some smoked sea salt and a nutty cheese.

Fried up to a crisp brown perfection on the outside and a soft crumbly texture on the inside, I took a bite with great expectations. As it turns out, flounder roe tastes exactly like flounder. I felt a little foolish for being so surprised, but there you have it. The texture was a pleasant surprise though. Despite enduring some burns to the face from the spattering butter, the areas where the roe sac had ruptured bloomed into crisp flowers of brown nutty deliciousness that were punctuated by the bits of cherry wood smoked salt and cheese.

It wasn’t quite the mind-blowing delicacy I’d hoped for, but with a glass of wine, fresh baked boule, cheese and caponata, it made for a humble meal I could imagine being eaten in a small cottage somewhere along the Mediterranean.

1/2 lb flounder roe
2 Tbs butter
smoked salt
pepper
freshly grated Pecorino Grand Cru (or other hard nutty cheese)
lemon wedges

Heat a pan until hot then add the butter. Swirl until the sizzling subsides, then carefully add the roe to the pan (it will splatter hot oil all over the place). As the moist row sac cooks, some of it will pop in the hot oil so stand as far away as you can. Fry until brown and crisp on that side then flip and crisp on the other side.

Plate, drizzling the brown butter on top and sprinkle with smoked salt, pepper and and the grated cheese. Serve with lemon wedges and bread.

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ Elra

    Simply delicious, Marc!
    Cheers,
    Elra

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com Elra

    Simply delicious, Marc!
    Cheers,
    Elra

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    Thanks for risking Permanent Facial Scarring to bring us this lovely little number. Sometimes it is that dish tucked way in the back of the display that really gets our creative juices running:)

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    Thanks for risking Permanent Facial Scarring to bring us this lovely little number. Sometimes it is that dish tucked way in the back of the display that really gets our creative juices running:)

  • http://chefholly.typepad.com/holly_hadsell_el_hajji/ Holly

    That sounds really interesting, I have never tried anything like that. To be honest I have never had flounder, it doesn’t swim in the Pacific.

  • http://chefholly.typepad.com/holly_hadsell_el_hajji/ Holly

    That sounds really interesting, I have never tried anything like that. To be honest I have never had flounder, it doesn’t swim in the Pacific.

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    I’ve never tried flounder roe, but I have to say I love the way you prepared it…and a great imagination with it too!

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    I’ve never tried flounder roe, but I have to say I love the way you prepared it…and a great imagination with it too!

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ we are never full

    ok, never had flouder roe, but thank you for trying it for me. i’ll def. keep my eyes peeled for it. i was out that same day (actually at night) and honestly, i was in 4 layers and walked 3 blocks and i thought my face was going to fall off in one ice block. my legs almost couldn’t continue – i do exaggerate but you know how bad it was. thank god for 58 degrees today.

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    ok, never had flouder roe, but thank you for trying it for me. i’ll def. keep my eyes peeled for it. i was out that same day (actually at night) and honestly, i was in 4 layers and walked 3 blocks and i thought my face was going to fall off in one ice block. my legs almost couldn’t continue – i do exaggerate but you know how bad it was. thank god for 58 degrees today.

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/ Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    It’s so much fun to experiment with new ingredients. Sounds like something I should try if I ever see it.

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    It’s so much fun to experiment with new ingredients. Sounds like something I should try if I ever see it.

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com/ Peter

    Yikes…cooking dangerously! I love roe (as you recall from our dinner) and I’d have no probs tucking into this!

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com Peter

    Yikes…cooking dangerously! I love roe (as you recall from our dinner) and I’d have no probs tucking into this!

  • http://ohboykarencooks.blogspot.com/ Karen

    You have just described the perfect meal for me. This looks and sounds soooo good!

  • http://ohboykarencooks.blogspot.com Karen

    You have just described the perfect meal for me. This looks and sounds soooo good!

  • mary judge

    If you don’t want it to splatter so much, dry is throughly w. a linen towel and leave it out on the counter to air dry.

  • mary judge

    If you don’t want it to splatter so much, dry is throughly w. a linen towel and leave it out on the counter to air dry.

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  • Moolik

    bought a whole flounder and discovered two huge sacks of roe inside! Thanks for the recipe, we ate the roe for lunch and are saving the fish for dinner.

  • Ed F.

    I work at a fish market that gets their fresh fish daily from a famous and well known NYC fish market and I spoke to my boss about getting me some flounder roe when he filleted the flounder. I got a decent yield and rushed to make some after seeing your recipe. I pan seared it in butter and olive oil and since I didn’t have smoked salt I added paprika to a salt/pepper mixture and topped the roe with pecorino romano, a squeeze of lemon, and a little EVOO and ate it on bread. It was a great little snack that has a nice texture.

    I have a few more at home and I am going to try to cook it in oil/soy sauce and top it with bonito flakes over some brown rice and scallions (might even add some natto on the side)

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Sounds like a great idea!

      • Ed. F

        Just made it last night. It was absolutely amazing – only regret was I wish I had more :( I seasoned the roe with garlic salt and pepper, flour/egg battered it and pan seared it in some sweet cream butter/olive oil, drained the oil and added sesame oil, mirin, soy sauce, water, and scallions. Served it over brown rice with the bonito flakes (skipped the natto bc I feel it would take away from the delicate flounder flavor). Your idea paid off as always!

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