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Sweet-and-Sour Panfried Sole

If you cannot find panko—delicate Japanese bread crumbs—you can easily make and store your own bread crumbs. Process slices of good-quality, day-old white bread in a food processor. Spread on a baking sheet and dry in a 250°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Process again for finer crumbs. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs. ketchup
  • 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup panko or fine dried bread crumbs (see note above)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 petrale or Dover sole fillets, about 1 1/2 lb. total
  • 3 Tbs. corn or peanut oil

Directions:

Make the sauce
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, sesame oil, sugar and cornstarch. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Keep warm.

Prepare the fish
In a shallow bowl, lightly beat the egg. Spread the flour and panko on 2 separate plates. Season the flour with a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Just before frying, season the sole fillets with salt on both sides. Dip them first in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the panko, coating evenly each time and pressing the panko with your fingertips so it adheres.

Panfry the fish
Warm a large nonstick fry pan over high heat until just hot and add the corn oil. Add the fish and fry, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the fillets to paper towels to drain briefly, then serve with the sauce. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Asian, by Farina Wong Kingsley (Oxmoor House, 2007).