Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Semi-Light Spring Fish Dish !

   Hurrah ! Spring is here ! It's time to put those heavier recipes like chili beans and stews on the back burner,for those colder days next winter ! I am so so happy when I see delicate,crisp,sweet peas,tender asparagas, beautiful watermelon radishes,
and luscious,plump,red strawberries at the farmer's market.I have also spied fresh Dover and Petrale Sole at Whole Foods Market,and a large packet of fresh Dover Sole at Costco ! I love the delicate and sweet textures and flavors of both of these fish,although Dover Sole is much softer and more easily can fall apart when moved too much with a spatula. It is found off the Eastern North Atlantic in Europe. Petrale sole is exclusively found in the Pacific Ocean and it is our speciality on the West Coast. It is actually a Pacific Flounder. Sole have both eyes on ones side of their body.
     The first dish that Julia Child had when she landed in France with her husband Paul was Sole Menuiere (sole cooked in butter).She just about died and went to Heaven when she tasted her first bite ! Well, I simply had to taste what all the fuss was about,so I tried the recipe,and now I know why Julia's tastebuds were dancing a little jig !!
   I found this recipe for Sole Meuniere (sole cooked in butter) in a Williams Sonoma cookbook,called "Savoring France". Always read your recipe twice,to make sure you have the ingredients,you understand the procedure,and that you have the time to prepare the dish !! Before making this quick fish dish,I would advise preparing a simple salad,and a vegetable,like boiled potatoes.

                          Sole Meuniere

1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz / 75 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
4 whole Dover sole or 2 Petrale sole, cleaned and skin removed,or sole filets,1 1/2-2 lb (750g-1 kg) total weight,skin removed
5 tablespoons (2 1/2 oz / 75 g) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian)parsley
2 tablespoons capers

   Spread the flour on a plate and dust the fish on both sides,tapping off the excess. In a large frying pan over medium heat,melt 3 tablespoons of the butter.When it foams,add 2 of the whole sole,sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper,and cook until the underside of the fish is lightly golden and the meat can be lifted with a bone with a fork,about 4 minutes.Turn and cook the other side until golden,about 4 minutes longer.Transfer to a warm platter,and cover loosely with foil.Cook the remaining 2 sole the same way,adding an additional tablespoon of butter to the pan.If using sole filets, as I did,proceed as directed,but reduce the cooking time to 1 1/2 -2 minutes on each side.
   Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the butter in the pan and add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter , the lemon juice,and the capers.When the butter melts,pour it and the capers over the fish and sprinkle with the parsley.
   Serve immediately,piping hot !

P.S. To add a little Italian twist to this fish,one could sauté some red bell pepper strips and some marinated artichoke heart quarters with the marinade, in a sauté pan first before cooking the fish,and then pouring these vegetables over the cooked fish. However, Sole Meuniere is perfect as is too !
   Now dream that  you are Julia or Paul in France, and indulge  yourselves in this divine dish !! Oooooh la la !