Sole Meunière has long been a classic, a staple of French cuisine, proof to the elegance that can be found in the simplicity of a few fine ingredients. And although she in no way invented or discovered it, Sole Meunière was undoubtedly immortalized by Julia Child who fondly recalled it as her first meal in France, and a life changing moment. This single, simple meal introduced to her by her husband Paul Child seemed to awaken in her a culinary grumbling, bringing to life her palate and gastronomic imagination. And with good reason. Those of you who aspire to be like Child may enjoy online cooking schools.
As she described in her Memoir, My Life in France (which, it should be noted, is one of my favorite books), it was “perfectly browned in a sputtering butter sauce with a sprinkling of chopped parsley… I closed my eyes and inhaled the rising perfume. Then I lifted a forkful of fish to my mouth… The flesh of the sole was delicate, with a light but distinct taste of the ocean that blended marvelously with the browned butter… It was a morsel of perfection… It was the most exciting meal of my life.”
If that description has your stomach growling, don’t panic. You are steps away from making it. If your pantry and fridge are anything like mine, then the only ingredient you will need is the sole filets. And I even sometimes have those stashed away in the freezer. The rest? Flour, butter, lemons, salt, pepper, parsley. Those common ingredients and 10 minutes of your time are all it takes to recreate this simple – and simply divine – meal. And truly, it’s exactly as Julia Child described.
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 4 sole fillets (each about 3 to 4 ounces)
- Coarse kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Lemon wedges
- 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.
- 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.