This classic of French cuisine is prepared using the whole fish, and not fillets. You will need one medium-size sole per person. To ensure success, buy your fish very fresh and have the fishmonger remove the dark skin on the top side of the sole if possible. This recipe is adapted from Cuisine de France by Paul Bocuse (Flammarion, 1992).
2 fresh soles
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp. (60 g.) butter
1 tbsp. sunflower oil or another vegetable oil
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. finely minced parsley
Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels.
Mix the flour, salt and pepper together on a large flat plate. Place the fish on the plate to coat with flour, covering both sides well. Shake off any excess flour to leave a fine coating.
Heat 2 tbsp. butter and the oil to sizzling in a large nonstick frying pan. Sauté the fish skin side down for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Flip very gently. Sauté 5 minutes more.
When both sides are golden brown, remove the fish to a warm platter. Sprinkle with lemon juice and parsley. Quickly heat the rest of the butter in your frying pan. When it turns a nutty brown, pour it over the fish. It will foam up on contact with the lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 2.
Sole meunière is traditionally served with boiled potatoes and a great white wine to complement the elegance of the fish. But these days everybody’s improvising. Choose any vegetable mild enough to enhance the sole without overwhelming it — a purée of celery root or sweet potatoes, for example, or steamed green beans.
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