GULF SHORES AND ORANGE BEACH, ALA. — We hate to break a tradition that’s lasted for hundreds of years. But if you serve stuffed flounder for Thanksgiving dinner this year instead of stuffed turkey, you’ll probably never serve turkey again. You’ll also start a new Thanksgiving family tradition of serving stuffed Gulf of Mexico flounder.
Derek Vonkanel of Bon Secour, Ala., fishes off Alabama’s Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, Ala., the longest pier in the Gulf of Mexico, three or four times a week.
"The flounder hold next to the pilings on the pier, and we fish for them with live shrimp," Vonkanel said. "On a good day of flounder fishing, I’ll catch five or six flounder, and on my best days, I’ll catch a limit of 10 flounder."
Here’s the gulf angler’s favorite recipe for stuffed flounder supreme:
4 small flounder
½ cup green onions, chopped
¼ cup celery, diced
1 small clove garlic, minced
6 ounces of fresh shrimp
6 ounces of fresh crab meat
½ cup bread crumbs
Salt, pepper, oil, lemon juice and paprika
Directions: Make a slit along the flounder’s backbone on the dark side of the fish. Cut a pocket by sliding the knife along the flounder’s ribs on both sides. Mix green onions, celery, garlic, shrimp, crab meat and bread crumbs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add enough oil to moisten, and stuff a quarter of the mixture into each flounder.
Sprinkle the fish with lemon juice. Rub skin with paprika, salt and pepper. Wrap the flounder individually in foil, slit-side up. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Open the foil, brown for 15 more minutes and serve with lemon butter sauce.