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Fillets of Sole Meunière

Fillets of Sole Meunière
Sautéing is a quick cooking method that adds good flavor to foods. Heat the pan over medium-high heat before adding the butter. This allows the butter to melt quickly without browning. Use unsalted butter if possible, since salted butter burns more easily over high heat. Adding oil to the pan also helps keep the butter from burning because oil has a higher smoke point. As the butter melts, it will foam. When the foam begins to subside, add the food to the pan. Shake the pan or use a wooden spoon to move the food around the pan as it cooks. Remove the food from the pan as soon as it is cooked through.

Ingredients:

  • 6 skinless sole fillets, each 6 to 8 oz.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground white pepper, plus more,
      to taste
  • 6 Tbs. (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 6 tsp. olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 4
      sprigs for garnish
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions:

Using a sharp knife, make shallow cuts on the skin side of the fillets to prevent them from curling up while cooking. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and stir in the 1 Tbs. salt and 1/2 tsp. white pepper. Sprinkle both sides of the fillets lightly with additional salt and white pepper. Dredge the fillets in the flour mixture.

In a large fish skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tsp. of the butter with 2 tsp. of the olive oil. When the butter stops foaming, shake off the excess flour from 2 fillets and arrange them in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until golden underneath, about 1 minute. Using a wide spatula, carefully turn the fillets over and cook until golden underneath, about 2 minutes more. Arrange the cooked fillets on a warmed platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Carefully wipe the skillet clean with paper towels and repeat with the remaining fillets, heating 2 tsp. of the butter and olive oil in the pan prior to each batch.

When all the fillets have been cooked, clean the skillet again. Melt the remaining 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) butter in the skillet over medium heat, add the lemon juice and swirl the skillet to incorporate the mixture. Pour over the warm fillets. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and garnish with the lemon wedges and parsley sprigs. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Note: To identify the skin side, look for thin silver-white remnants of skin on one side of each fillet.

Variation Tip: Fillets of flounder, lemon sole or gray sole can also be used in place of the sole in this recipe.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Fish, by Shirley King (Simon & Schuster, 2002)