What’s a Sand Dab Fillet?  The question of the day from many tourists that visit us down at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf is “what does a Sand Dab look like?”   The Sand Dab is a small flat fish that belongs to the Flounder family on the West Coast of the US.  Our Sicilian fishermen would eat Sand Dabs often when out at sea for days harvesting fish.  Sand Dabs harvested in the Pacific Ocean grow to 16 inches in length and have light brown skin.  At first restaurants in San Francisco would sell Sand Dabs only in trim form.  Trimmed form means the head and tail are removed along with the top fin and the stomach.  I know that doesn’t sound very appetizing but they are delicious.  The restaurants would pan fry them and then remove the center spine in front of you. We prefer to fillet the Sand Dabs.  Some fish have a very short fresh off the boat shelf life – Sand Dabs are one of those fish.  They are very thin and tender so we sell as frozen IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) fillets. The Sand Dabs Fillets hold up much better in a frozen state.  Nutty flavor.  The skin is paper thin and is eaten when cooked.  Next time you are cooking fish for dinner try the Sand Dab Fillets.


Sicilian Fishermen Sand Dab Fillets

  • Sand Dab fillets
  • flour
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Wash and dry the San Dab fillets.
    Season the flour with salt and pepper.
    Dip San Dab fillets in liquid – milk or brush with olive oil then into the seasoned flour.
    Heat olive oil in pan on stove for sautéing or use Cooking Spray with olive oil.
    Saute’ the Sand Dab Fillets about 2 minutes on each side. Do not over cook.
    Serve with lemon or tartar sauce.;