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Baked Sole with Asparagus

Look for relatively thick, large flatfish fillets for this elegant dish. Purchase 2 of them totaling 1 1/2 lb., and then cut them in half lengthwise to make 4 servings. Or, buy 8 small fillets totaling the same weight, and overlap pairs of fillets to make single thicker portions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. asparagus, medium-size stalks, tough ends removed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 large or 8 small sole or flounder fillets, 1 1/2 lb. total
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Directions:

Bake the fish and asparagus
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Butter a shallow 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Arrange the asparagus spears in a single layer in the prepared dish and season lightly with salt. Season the fish fillets on both sides with salt and pepper and place them on top of the asparagus. Bake until the fillets are beginning to flake at the tail ends and the asparagus is tender-crisp, about 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Make the sauce
Meanwhile, in a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the lemon zest. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking, until the mixture just begins to color, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and lemon juice and whisk vigorously to break up any lumps. Cook the sauce, whisking occasionally, until thick, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the fish fillets and asparagus among individual plates, spoon the sauce over the fillets and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Seafood, by Jay Harlow (Oxmoor House, 2007).