This quick and easy recipe for Baked Flounder Oreganata is a classic Italian dish that's surprisingly simple to prepare at home. Delicate flounder fillets get topped with lemony, garlic-infused breadcrumbs for a restaurant quality seafood dinner that's as perfect for weeknights as it is for special occasions.
One of the best parts about living on the coast is having a bunch of fishermen friends who are kind enough share their catch of the day. Shout out to Jonny and Timmy for supplying the expertly filleted flounder for this recipe!
My go-to way to prepare flounder has always been the classic French flounder Meunière, but oreganata style is quickly becoming my new favorite way of cooking fish. It's a really simple, traditional Italian preparation that can applied to a variety of dishes, like shrimp or clams oreganata.
It works especially well with a delicate, mild white fish like flounder (also called fluke) or sole, which pairs beautifully with the herby, lemony breadcrumbs for a perfect combination of flavors.
This classic flounder recipe is an easy fish dinner that uses basic pantry ingredients, has an addictive crunchy topping and gets baked to succulent, juicy perfection in less than 15 minutes.
It's easy enough for busy weeknights, but sophisticated enough for entertaining - and is a great dish to serve at the Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. I love to serve it along with a seafood soup or stew, like New England Clam Chowder, Cioppino or Lobster Bisque.
If the thought of cooking seafood intimidates you, give this simple fish oreganata recipe a try.
Why this recipe works
- Easy, beginner friendly recipe with simple ingredients and easy prep.
- The oreganata topping creates a satisfyingly crispy crust for a great crunchy texture.
- Quick cooking flounder makes a speedy option for busy weeknight meals.
- Flounder - This recipe calls for flounder, also called fluke, which is a delicate, white flaky fish with a mild flavor. Look for fresh flounder fillets at your local seafood market or fishmonger. If you can't find flounder, you can substitute another flaky white fish like dover sole.
- Panko Breadcrumbs - Panko breadcrumbs are lighter than regular breadcrumbs, so they result in a crispier coating and are my preference for oreganata. You can also substitute gluten free breadcrumbs if that's your preference.
- Oregano - Given its name, there's no surprise that oregano is a key ingredient. It has a distinct pungent flavor that pairs beautifully with seafood, but if you aren't a fan of oregano, you can leave it out or substitute another herb, like fresh parsley or basil. I prefer using fresh oregano, but dried works just as well. Be sure to use Mediterranean oregano, not the Mexican variety, that's grown in Sicily or Greece if you can find it.
- Parmesan Cheese - Good quality parmesan, such as Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, has a more complex flavor and makes a difference. Always buy it whole and grate it fresh.
- Olive Oil - Use good quality extra virgin olive oil for best results. It matters.
- White Wine - An un-oaked, dry white wine like Pinto Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc is recommended. Do not use an off-dry or sweet wine. If you prefer to not use wine, just add a little bit more lemon juice.
- Fish Spatula - Flounder is extremely delicate and can easily fall apart, so a fish spatula is especially helpful in transferring it from the pan to the plate.
- Microplane Grater - You'll need a microplane grater to remove the zest from the lemon. I also use it to finely mince the garlic so that it can easily blend into the mixture of breadcrumbs, and it works for grating the parmesan cheese, too.
- Baking Dish - You can use a rimmed baking sheet, but I find a 9x13 inch baking dish does a better job of keeping the fish moist.
Step by step instructions
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, add the panko breadcrumbs and grated garlic, then use a fork or your fingers to work the garlic into the breadcrumbs until it's evenly distributed.
- Add the grated parmesan cheese, lemon zest, oregano, parsley, ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle in ¼ cup olive oil and mix to combine.
- Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 9x13 inch baking dish, then place the flounder fillets in a single layer, season on both sides with salt and pepper, then pour white wine and lemon juice over the top.
- Spoon the breadcrumb mixture over each fish fillet and use your fingers to gently press to adhere.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, depending on thickness, or until the flounder is just barely cooked through, then turn on the broiler. Keep a careful watch and rotate the pan as needed to help the breadcrumbs get golden brown and crisp.
- Serve the flounder immediately with extra lemon wedges on the side.
Tips for success
- Make sure your fish is exceptionally fresh. It should look firm, moist, and should easily spring back when pressed. Always purchase from a reputable source.
- Run your fingers along the sides of the fish fillets to look for any pin bones and remove them with tweezers prior to cooking. Even fish that's labeled as boneless can sometimes have a hidden bone or two.
- Don't overcrowd the baking dish. If the fish fillets are overlapping, use a large rimmed baking sheet or transfer them into two baking dishes instead.
- Place thinner fillets in the middle of the pan and larger, thicker fillets on the outside so they cook evenly.
- If your oven has a convection setting, turn it on to achieve the crispiest topping.
- The cooking time will ultimately depend on the thickness of your flounder fillets. Use a skewer or fork to poke the center of the largest fillet to test for doneness. If the fish is cooked, it will press in easily, if there is any resistance, it needs more time. But be careful not to overcook - flounder will turn mushy if it cooks for too long.
What to Serve with Baked Flounder
Yes! Just make sure they're good quality, defrosted and patted dry before making the recipe.
You cannot prepare the entire dish in advance, but you can mix the breadcrumb mixture up to 24 hours in advance and keep it stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also add the fish to the oiled baking dish up to 12 hours in advance, covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated until ready to cook. Do NOT season the fish or add the lemon juice or white wine in advance, or they will break down the proteins in the fish and make it mushy.
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