Sole Food

At the end of each year, we make resolutions.  Some of us go on diets, some of us vow to finally fulfill a lifelong dream, and some us vow to eat more seafood.  I fall into the latter category.  I recently watched the movie "Julie and Julia", and was motivated by the first dish they show julia child eating while she was in france.  It was sole ala meuniere, which is basically a fillet of sole sauteed in clarified butter and then served with a simple pan sauce of parsley, lemon, juice, and (ahem), more butter.  In the movie, Julia Child's eyes rolled back into her face as she tasted the first bite and if you follow this method, I guarantee that yours will also.
Sole Meuniere is all about the butter.  I should clarify (sorry, cheap joke)...instead of sauteing in an oil we use clarified butter here, so unless you have some on hand, this needs to be your first step.  it's super easy, all you do is heat a stick or so of butter in a saucepan until melted, and then skim the foamy milk solids off of the top.  turn your heat to low, and then wait for the rest of the milk solids to fall to the bottom.  

then, you need to strain what's left through a cheesecloth-lined sieve for later use. Voila!!  Butter clarification complete.  We do this so that the butter has a higher smoke point, therefore, giving you the benefit of sauteing in oil, with the taste of butter.  what you have leftover, you can use for eggs, potatoes, or whatever.
from here on out, it is remarkably simple.  season your flour and dredge both sides of the sole in it, shaking off the excess.  add about 3 tablespoons of the liquid gold that you just so expertly made and give your fish a ride in the butter hot tub for about 4 minutes.  Notice how the edges are getting golden brown and crispy like?  Of course you do, now it's time to flip, carefully using a fish spatula (like the one in the next pic in the upper right hand corner.).  I say this because the sole is an extremely delicate fish that requires a soft touch (like kitties, or rolling out pasta, or brain surgery).

now, once you've flipped, let the fillet cook for about 3 more minutes, and then add your butter, parsley, and lemon juice, and kind of shake your pan to combine everything. there you go.  this dish is extremely versatile, pairing wise, and would go well with lots of different sides.  we served it with some rosemary baby dutch tates and a small salad. pour remaining pan sauce over fillets and garnish with some lemon wedges (that you put face down into the butter bath for a few minutes).

one last thing...this meal had an amazing contrast of being delicate but still being totally rich and amazing.  As you can see, we cut the fillet down into two small portions and had reasonable sides.  The thing about french food is, they don't skimp, but they don't gluttonize everything either. if you are making a resolution for a healthier life, this is definitely not something that you would eat every day, but it is definitely not something that you should be afraid to make or serve, once in a while either.  my personal guideline is one of moderation, not deprivation.  it is the small treats and little things in life that make it worth living/enjoying, and if we take those away, it just kind of, well, sucks.  Happy new year everyone, I hope that you all are looking forward to learning new recipes, techniques, and methods to enrich your cooking skills.

Sole ala Meuniere (serves 2, but i trust y'all can figure it out if you want to make more.)
1 fillet sole
3 tbs clarified butter (see above on how to make)
1 lemon halved
2 tbs butter (non clarified), cut into pieces
1tbs minced flat leaf parsley
seasoned flour for dredging (i just used salt and peps)
(see pics and read method above for instructions)

DISH recommends: Chemex coffee maker. I love this thing.  christmas present from the lady in my life.  it makes awesome coffee with no bitterness.  it was developed by a chemist, so, you know...


piccolinadesigns said...

Sticky wall. Groan. Goober. :P

And as a not-a-big-fan-of-fish person, this dish looks good even to me. Another recipe to put on my "Honey-Do" list.

You really do need to write a cook book. I'll be your first customer. And buy several copies. ;)

WeekendFarmer said...

Happy New Year! I cant believe you made Palmier....LOVE iT.....I want some : ) They look so good! I could never do it. Lovely posts!

marfyc said...

Just checked out the new layout! Yay you! :) (Actually, yay Amy!) The sole sounds fantastico, and I would love to make some puff pastry, as soon as I start getting 2 days off.... which may be soon!
Talk to you later!