Sautéed Flounder with Shrimp Wontons
The use of Asian ingredients is one of the hallmarks of Seth Raynor’s cooking style. These crisp wontons also make a delicious hors d’oeuvre for a cocktail party. The wontons may be prepared 1 day in advance of frying. Lightly dust them with flour and separate them with sheets of waxed paper, then seal the entire package in plastic wrap and refrigerate. The sauce may also be prepared a day in advance and reheated in a medium saucepan over low heat.
- Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Lemongrass - 2 tablespoons, thinly sliced
- Fresh Ginger - 2 tablespoons minced
- Garlic - 2 tablespoons, minced
- Tomatoes - 4, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- Dry white wine - 1/4 cup
- V-8 or Tomato Juice - 4 cups
- Water - 1 cup
- Shiitake Mushrooms - 1/2 cup, thinly sliced, stemmed
- Cream Cheese - one 8-ounce package, at room temperature
- Smoked Shrimp - 4 ounces, finely chopped
- Green Onions - 1/2 cup, chopped (white part and 2 inches of green tops)
- Cayenne Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
- Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- Lemon Juice - 1/2 teaspoon
- About 30 wonton skins
- Vegetable Oil - 4 cups, for frying
- Yellowtail Flounder Fillets - 8, 3 to 4 ounces each
- Basil leaves - 8
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Asparagus - 8 ounces
- Fresh Spinach - 10 ounces, stemmed
- Vegetable Oil - 3 tablespoons
- Green Onions - 4 to 6, sliced (white part and 2 inches of green tops)
To make the sauce: heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the lemongrass, ginger, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook for 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 5 minutes. Add the V-8 or tomato juice and water and increase the heat to high. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Strain the sauce through a fine-meshed sieve into a medium sauté pan or skillet, then add the mushrooms. Simmer the sauce over low heat for 5 minutes; set aside and keep warm.
To make the wontons: Combine the cream cheese, shrimp, green onions, cayenne, salt, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Brush the edges of a wonton skin with water. Place 1 teaspoon of filling at the center of the wrapper and fold it in half to form a triangle, pressing the edges together with your fingers to seal them tightly. Bring the opposing two corners of the triangle together, dab with water, and press to seal. Repeat until all the filling has been used; it will make about 30 wontons.
In a heavy, deep pot or deep-fryer, heat the oil to 375 F, or until a bread crumb dropped into the oil is surrounded with a ring of white bubbles and turns brown in 10 seconds. Fry the wontons in small batches, being careful not to crowd the pan, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the wontons from the pot with a slotted spoon, drain them on paper towels, and repeat until all the wontons have been fried. Set aside at room temperature.
To prepare the flounder: Preheat the oven to 450 F. Place a basil leaf in the center of a fish fillet and place another fillet on top at a right angle. Place another basil leaf in the center of that fillet and fold in the four ends to enclose the top leaf and create a woven package. Season the package with salt and pepper and set aside.
To make the garnish: Pour 1/2 inch of lightly salted water into a medium sauté pan or skillet and bring to a boil. Place a stainless steel steamer in the bottom of the pan and add the asparagus. Cover the pan and steam the asparagus for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on size. Remove the asparagus from the steamer and add the spinach. Steam the spinach for 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted. Set aside and keep warm.
To finish the dish: Heat the oil over high heat in a medium ovenproof sauté pan or skillet. Sear the flounder for 2 minutes on each side, turning it gently with a metal spatula. Transfer the pan to the bottom rack of a preheated oven for 3 minutes. Turn the fillets gently and move the pan to the center rack for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.
To serve: Place a fillet in each of four shallow soup bowls. Arrange three portions of spinach around each fillet. Place the asparagus over the spinach. Pour one cup of sauce into each bowl and garnish with the reserved wontons and sliced green onions.