The Pacific sand dab has a delicate, sweet flavor that’s brought out with a simple pan-fry in this recipe, anchored by earthy, rich morel mushrooms. If whole sand dabs aren’t available, you can substitute sole or flounder fillets.
- 4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) all-purpose flour, for dusting
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. whole sand dabs, cleaned and gutted
- About 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 garlic scapes, small heads green garlic, or small scallions, trimmed to about 4 inches
- 20 medium morel mushrooms
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 6 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- Put the flour on a large plate and season with salt and pepper. Pat the fish dry and dredge lightly in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess.
- Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch, heavy-duty, skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Cook the fish in batches without crowding until golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes a side for whole fish, or 2 to 3 minutes a side for fillets, and transfer to paper towels to drain. Wipe the pan clean and add more oil between batches as needed.
- Heat 3/4 cup of the oil, the garlic scapes, green garlic or scallions, and morels in a saucepan over medium heat until the green garlic is just starting to color, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the morels to a small bowl. Add the red wine vinegar and cook 1 minute. Return the morels to the pan, remove from the heat, and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the fish on a serving platter, and spoon over the skillet dressing. Serve with the lemon wedges.