Dish of the Week: Sole Meunière

The classic French preparation is as simple as it gets.EXPAND
The classic French preparation is as simple as it gets.
Photo by Merle ja Joonas

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

With Lent about to begin, we’re sharing a fish dish perfect for your meat-free Friday: sole meunière.

"Meunière" is a French term for both a sauce and a cooking method, literally meaning “miller’s wife." When something is prepared à la meunière, it is first dredged in flour. Referring to a sauce, the term means the simple, rustic preparation of brown butter, parsley and lemon.

The protein most commonly cooked à la meunière is fish, primarily sole or trout. The fish is traditionally dredged in seasoned flour and sautéed or pan-fried in either clarified butter or a combination of oil and butter until crisp. It can be prepared either whole or as a filet.

While the method is simple, the crisp fish combined with brown butter and a splash of lemon in the sauce provides a rich and bright depth of flavor. It’s perfect as is, but some chefs prefer to add a hint of Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, heavy cream, Creole seasoning or even nuts like pecans or almonds.

This recipe, from Bon Appétit, is as classic as it gets. Start here and add in spices or fresh herbs as desired.  

Classic Sole Meunière

Ingredients serves 4
For the fish:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 sole fillets (each about 3 to 4 ounces)
Coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil or canola oil
2 tbsp (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

For the sauce:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Lemon wedges

Directions

Place flour in pie dish. Rinse fish; pat with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of fish with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Dredge fish on both sides with flour; shake off excess. Place on platter.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until oil is hot and shimmers. Add butter; quickly swirl skillet to coat. When foam subsides, add fish and cook until golden on bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn fish over and cook until opaque in center and golden on bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide fish between 2 warmed plates; tent with foil. Pour off drippings from skillet; wipe with paper towels.

Make the sauce: Place skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter; cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and lemon juice (sauce may sputter).

Spoon sauce over fish. Serve with lemon wedges.


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