Seafood Stuffed Flounder

Course : Fish
Serves: 6
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-----seasoning mix-----
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon sweet basil
1/2 teaspoon gumbo file -- (optional)
-----main ingredients-----
3 slices bacon -- diced
1 1/2 cups onions -- chopped very fine
1 cup green bell peppers -- chopped
1/4 pound unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 pound small shrimp
1 1/2 cups basic seafood stock
6 medium shucked oysters -- (med. size)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup green onions -- chopped fine
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
-----flounder seasoning mix-----
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried sweet basil leaves
6 fillets flounders -- (see note)
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 spray vegetable oil for frying

Preparation / Directions:

NOTE: Flounder should be 1 to 1-1/4 pounds each, boned, heads removed and brown side split down the center. Combine the first seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl; mix well and set aside. In a large skillet fry the bacon over high heat until crisp. Add onions, celery and bell peppers. Stir well and sauté until vegetables start to get tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 3 tablespoons of the butter and the white and red peppers; stir until butter is melted. Stir in the shrimp and the first seasoning mix. Continue cooking for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom well. Stir in the stock and the oysters; cook and stir about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon to spoon the seafood vegetable mixture into a food processor or blender, leaving the liquid in the skillet; process mixture until smooth, about 15 to 30 seconds. Return mixture to skillet, stirring to blend with liquid; turn heat to high, and cook until mixture starts sticking excessively, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom well. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, in a 1-quart saucepan melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter over high heat; when almost melted, remove from heat, then add 1/4 cup of the flour and stir until mixture is smooth. Return to high heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Turn heat to high under the stuffing mixture; gradually add the butter-flour mixture, stirring constantly until well blended. If mixture starts "weeping" oil at this point, stir in about 2 tablespoons more stock or water.) Continue cooking until very thick, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the green onions and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan. Cool slightly, then refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. In a small bowl thoroughly combine the flounder seasoning mix ingredients. Open the flounders for stuffing. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the seasoning mix on the inside of each flounder. Mound 1/4 cup of the cheddar cheese in the center of each, then spoon a scant 1/2 cup chilled stuffing on top of the cheese. Close the fish so the stuffing doesn't show. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the seasoning mix on each side of each chilled flounder, patting it in with your hands. In a pan (cake and pie pans work well) combine the remaining seasoning mix with the remaining 1/2 cup flour. In a large, heavy skillet heat 1/4 inch oil over high heat to about 350F. Meanwhile, place each flounder (split side up) in the seasoned flour to coat only the bottom surface. Carefully slide each flounder into the hot oil and fry the bottom until it's crispy, crunchy and brown-brown!-- about 3 to 4 minutes. Without draining, place the flounder, still split side up, on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 550F until the fish are cooked and well browned on top, about 10 minutes (after about 4 minutes, drape a piece f aluminum foil over the tails so they won't burn). Serve immediately as is, or topped with Hollandaise Sauce, Shrimp and Crab Buttercream Sauce, or Béarnaise Sauce From Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kit

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