I often tweak classic recipes to make them lighter, healthier and perhaps a bit more modern. But sometimes, you just don’t mess with perfection.
Julia Child wrote that the first time she experienced sole meunière upon her arrival in France, she had a culinary epiphany. And after trying this just once, I can understand why.
The fish is crispy on the ends, very moist and flavorful in the center, and sings with a simple sauce of browned butter and fresh lemon, topped with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.
While the classic calls for Dover sole (a true sole imported from Europe), it was wonderful with wild petrale sole – a member of the flounder family that is also a flatfish very similar to its European counterpart.
Meunière is a cooking style and sauce, meaning “miller’s wife,” because the fish is lightly dredged in flour before being quickly fried in browned butter.
Please give this elegant, perfectly balanced classic French preparation a try and find out what all of the fuss is about – I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Leave me a comment and let me know if it was an epiphany for you as well!
A few notes for the cook
This two-step recipe comes together very quickly. After you cook your sole, it’s nice to have a warm plate ready to rest the fish on as you make the quick sauce. Feel free to tent with foil as well.
And don’t skimp on the butter – the beauty of this dish is the browning of the milk solids in the butter, which creates a nutty flavor, and the way in which it makes a lip-smackingly delicious sauce with the fresh lemon. It’s worth the splurge!
I used a cast iron skillet for this recipe, which worked wonderfully, but any large, heavy-bottom pan will work as well.
Classic Sole Meunière
2 portions wild petrale sole, thawed
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
4 slices fresh lemon, seeds removed
2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Gently pat the thawed sole portions dry with paper towels. Place the flour on a large plate and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Lightly dredge the sole on both sides in the flour, gently tapping off any excess.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Once the oil is shimmering, add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and swirl it into the oil until the foil subsides. Fry a portion of sole for 2 minutes until browned on the bottom, then gently turn over and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove the sole to a warm plate and repeat with the second portion.
Once both portions of sole are cooked, wipe out any remaining oil and butter from the pan, then return the pan to the range over low heat. Place the lemon slices in the pan and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Cook, stirring often for 2-3 minutes, until the butter begins to brown.
Remove the sauce from the heat. Gently squeeze the lemon slices into the butter, stirring to combine, then divide the sauce over the sole portions. Garnish each portion with chopped Italian parsley and serve immediately.
Adapted from content initially published by Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics.