Flounder is a flat fish with both its eyes on one side that lives in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Flounders lie on their sides on the ocean floor; in adulthood, both eyes are situated on the right or left (dependent upon species), upward-facing side of its body. Flounder sizes typically vary from five to fifteen inches, though they sometimes grow as long as three feet in length. Their breadth is about one-half of their length.

The summer flounder is left-handed; that is, it lies on the bottom on its right side, with its eyes on its left-hand side, and its abdomen is on its left edge as it rests on the bottom


Other names: fluke
Translations: Plekste, Plekšnė, Cambulă, Iverak, Chạy lung tung, Flądra, Bot, फ़्लाउंडर, Linguado, Камбала, Καλκάνι, تعثر, 가자미, Platýs, Menggelepar, Dapa, 比目鱼, Palaia, Iverka, Platesa, Passera, סנדל, Flundra, Иверак, ひらめ, Patauger, Flunder, Skrubbe, Flyndre, Platija, Камбала, Kampela, Писия

Physical Description

Flat with both eyes on top of its flat head that can move independently in every direction.

It has long been known that flatfishes are generally dark on a dark bottom and pale on a pale one. Perhaps the summer flounder is the most variable in color of all our local species and the one which adapts its pattern the most closely to that of the ground on which it lies. It is white below and of some shade of brown, gray, or drab above, like most flatfishes. But it can assume a wide range of tints, from nearly white on white sand through various hues of gray, blue, green, orange, pink, and brown to almost black.

Colors: normally brown in color but can acquire a variety of colors like red, orange, green and blue.

Tasting Notes

Flavors: mild and delicate flavour
Mouthfeel: Delicate, Lean and flaky
Food complements: Flavoured herb butter, Parmesan, Lemon
Wine complements: Chablis, Cote rotie, Pouilly-fume
Beverage complements: Pinot grigio wine or sauvignon blanc
Substitutes: Plaice, Dab, Sole, Brill, Turbot, Other thin whitefish fillets

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: march, april, may, september, opctober, november
Peak: march, april, may, september, opctober, november
Choosing: - Look for pink or deep red gills which are free from mucus and slime.
- Should have a shiny, clean belly cavty without protruding bones or cuts.
- Smell should be very mild.
- When buying flounder loins, fillets, or steaks, get those with firm flesh, no discoloration and a transcluscent appearance.
- Look for fresh flounder fillets with a good smell, firm texture and moist appearance.
Buying: Supermarket or seafood market
Procuring: Flounder fishing is best in spring and autumn. Flounder may be caught in summer, but the meat will be soft and unpleasant for eating. Flounder will bite at almost anything used for fish bait, including any kind of tackle. Use a small hook; No. 8 being the recommended size.

The flounder feeding ground is the soft mud of the sea bottom, near bridge spiles, docks, and other bottom incumbrances; they are sometimes found on bass grounds as well. Their diet consists mainly of fish spawn, crustaceans, polychaetes and other fish.

Preparation and Use

Flounder are an excellent pan fish, but they should be cooked as soon as possible after being caught.

The key to cooking flounder in a pan lies in preventing the skin sticking to the pan as this can cause the fish to break up.

Sticking is caused by excess moisture turning to steam and breaking up the skin.

Cleaning: If not boned, ask the seafood employee to do so.

Pat fillets dry with paper towels. Remove any remaining bones. Fold the fillets into small bundles by turning the ends under so they meet.

If you catch your own flounder, kill it as soon as the fish is landed and put in on ice.

Cleaning fish in seawater is best, if unavailable add salt to the water used for rinsing the fish, fresh water removes some of the delicate flavor of fish and should not be used.

Cleaning flounder is simple, cut behind the pectoral fin on the underside of the flatfish down to the outside of the gut cavity to the vent. Reach in with a finger and scoop out the viscera but leave the roe intact.

Conserving and Storing

Clean all flatfish species as soon as practical and store in the refrigerator.

Store, tightly wrapped, for no more than 1 day in the coldest part of the refigerator.

If handled and cleaned correctly the fish will stay fresh for a week.


World stocks of large predatory fish and large ground fish such as sole and flounder were estimated in 2003 to be only about 10% of pre-industrial levels, largely due to overfishing.

According to Seafood Watch, Atlantic flounder and sole are currently on the list of seafood that sustainability-minded consumers should avoid.

History: The name means "side-swimmers" in Greek.

In Europe, the name flounder refers to Platichthys flesus, in the Western Atlantic, there are summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus), winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus), in Japan there are Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceous).


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