European plaice with North Sea shrimps and ham
Fish & Seafood

European plaice with smoked ham and North Sea shrimps (‘Scholle Finkenwerder Art’)

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This dish combines three kinds of protein that are absolutely delicious. German smoked ham and tiny North Sea shrimps are stacked on top of a European plaice fillet.

This dish is savory, buttery, but also surprisingly light. Served together with some sauteed potatoes and lettuce this makes a wholesome springtime or summer meal.

The European plaice – a local delicacy

The European plaice is a flatfish that can be caught in the North Sea which lies at the northeastern border of Germany. If you’re outside of Europe this might be a hard fish to come by but any other flatfish such as sole will make an equally great substitute.

European plaice is mild in taste and very delicate, so its preparation is very straightforward and simple. It’s the same technique that the French refer to as ‘à la meunière’.

The European plaice is a delicate flatfish.

The skinless fillets of plaice get seasoned on both sides with a little salt and a few drops of lemon juice, then dredged in flour so that the outside is dry and lightly coated.

The plaice then gets pan-fried inside a nonstick saute pan starting out with clarified butter only. Once the first side is cooked, the fish gets turned over and some butter along with a few sprigs of thyme go into the pan.

The fish gets basted with the hot fat to infuse the butter and thyme aroma into it.

Once cooked, the fat gets drained and the plaice is ready to be served along with a few wedges of lemon for sprinkling.

Consider these tips when sourcing your toppings

The toppings for this traditional Northern German dish are North Sea shrimps and smoked ham along with some finely minced parsley.

The North Sea shrimps are, as their name indicates, from the North Sea. This local delicacy might, therefore, be hard to source outside of Germany. It’s best to substitute the tiniest shrimps you can possibly source.

Dried shrimps which can be reconstituted in hot water would also make a great substitute.

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These dried shrimps will make a great substitute for the original North Sea shrimps:

For the ham, it is important that you choose a lean cut with approximately 10 % fat. In my recipe, I use smoked black forest ham.

The ham is cut into fine slivers before sweating it together with the shrimps in some warm butter for 2-3 minutes max. You don’t want to cook your shrimps or ham, but instead warm them through before serving them on top of the plaice.

Chewy bacon fat is therefore not ideal for this kind of preparation. There are also German recipes which use fatty bacon. However, if you choose to use bacon instead of ham you would need to render the fat first to get crispy bacon bits.

I prefer the more subtle and delicate flavor of lean ham with my fish, as bacon tends to overpower all the other flavors.


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