I must confess: I'm not the world's biggest fan of sole. At least, I didn't think I was. I had one too many bland, stuffed sole fillets and didn't touch the stuff for years.
When I was flipping through my new copy of Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics, though, I saw this gorgeous photo of two fried sole fillets resting in a lemony, buttery sauce.
I decided to make the recipe during a weekend visit with my boyfriend, who is also a seafood fiend, and we both loved it. It was rich, to be sure, and definitely not diet food, but it was amazing! The lemon and butter form a velvety smooth sauce that, because of the lemon, doesn't taste heavy. If you follow the directions, the fish cooks perfectly - it's so tender it feels like it melts in your mouth.
It's also extremely easy to make, even though it's elegant enough to be perfect for entertaining.
Easy Sole Meuniere
Slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
Note: Ina Garten says this serves 2 - but that's definitely only if you're not planning on eating anything else. 2 fillets each is a huge portion and you won't have room for side dishes.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 fresh sole fillets, 3-4 oz. each
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
6 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice - 2 or 3 lemons
1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Have 1 heat proof dinner plate ready. Combine the flour, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper in a large plate. Pat the sole fillets dry with paper towels and season on one side with salt.
Heat 3 tbsp butter in a large frying over medium heat until it starts to brown. Coat 2 sole fillets in the seasoned flour on both sides and place them in the hot butter. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Turn carefully with a metal spatula and cook for 2 mnutes on other side. While the second side cooks, add 1/2 tsp lemon zest and 3 tbsp. of the lemon juice to the pan. carefully put fish fillets on an oven proof plate and pour the sauce over them.
Quickly clean the pan- otherwise any sauce left in the pan will turn black a when you cook the next batch of fish - not very appetizing. Keep cooked fillets warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the remaining 2 fillets. When they're done, distribute the cooked fish among 4 dinner plates (or 2 if you're serving 2 people). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parsley if using, and serve immediately