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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

French Sole

I am a big fan of all things French.  I love French culture.  I love French fashion.  I love France.  And I especially love French food.

Now the thing with French food is that often it's very complicated.  Sometimes technique makes it difficult to make at home.  But just as often it's the simplicity that makes it absolutely delicious.

Take sole meuniere.  Sole meuniere is classic in the most classic sense.  It's the Chanel ballet flat of French food.  It's not particularly sexy but always looks (tastes) perfect.  You don't need a lot of ingredients for sole meuniere but you do need a good dose of organization.  Once you start the preparation of this dish it comes together very quickly.  It also requires patience because although it cooks very quickly, you really do have to leave the fish alone as it's cooking so as not to disturb the formation of the crisp brown coating.  Besides that, it's pretty easy.  It's also, as I said, quick.  You can whip it up for dinner in just a few minutes and you'll look like a real gourmet.

Recipe:  Classic Sole Meuniere
Serves 2

Note:  When you can get Dover sole, go for it.  If that's not available, use any sole fillet.  I like lemon sole when I can't find the Dover.


For the Fish:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 sole fillets (3-4 ounces each)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Sauce:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
lemon wedges for serving

Preheat the oven to 200.  Have two heat proof dinner plates ready to go.

Place the flour in a shallow dish.  Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle both sides of the fish with salt and pepper.  Dredge the fish on both sides with the flour and shake off the excess.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium heat.   As soon as the oil is warmed, add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and swirl it to melt.  Lower the heat to medium-low and place two of the fish fillets in the pan and allow them to cook undisturbed for 2 minutes.  Carefully turn the fish over and cook for another 2 minutes.  While the second side is cooking, add 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, half of the zest, and 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter.  When the fish is cooked, carefully place the fish on one of the oven proof dish and pour the sauce over it.  Place in the oven to keep warm.  Repeat process with the rest of the fish.

When all of the fish is cooked, sprinkle the parsley over each dish sprinkle lightly with a little salt and pepper.  Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.

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