THE NORTHERN ATLANTIC FLUKE is more than just an excellent alternative for the more expensive flatfish species like sole, turbot and halibut – it is a fine species that is worthy of being served raw. Fluke is also known as “Summer Flounder” for their tendency to stay inshore during the summer months. These fish are also called “Left Eye Flounders”: like all flatfish that become bottom dwellers, one eye migrates to the other side, resulting in “right eye” or “left eye” fish. Fluke can be distinguished from all other soles and flounders in North America as it alone is “left eyed”.
Like other flatfish, the fluke has a Jekyll-and-Hyde appearance, with a dark brown, gray or greenish back and a white blind-side or belly. Fluke are deft hunters, using quick movements and a mouth full of teeth to snare unsuspecting prey like minnows, squid and various crustaceans. Able to change colors to blend in with the sea bottom, they are truly the chameleons of the sea.
Served fresh and raw, fluke is ideal for sashimi preparations (commonly identified by the Japanese as Hirame) and particularly well as ceviche or crudo. Cooked, their white, flaky meat holds up well to many types of preparations, including the fry pan, the grill, the steamer or the oven. Because they are low in natural oils, fluke fillets have a tendency to dry out, and there are commonly served poached or broiled with liquid, although strong sauces can overpower its sweet and delicate flavor.
Browne Trading Co.’s fresh fluke are harvested in the cool waters off the New England and Mid-Atlantic shores and are brought in several times per week. Market size is commonly between 1-4 pounds, but larger fish, known as “doormats,” can commonly reach 8 pounds or more, and on occasion tip the scales at 18-20 pounds.
Catch Region: Mid-to-North Atlantic
Seasonality: Year Round
Catch Method: Line Caught, Trawl Caught
Yield (Fillet Percentage): 60 %
Flavor Profile: Mild yet Sweet
Texture Profile: Lean and Flaky, Firm