Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sole meuniére

photos, Diane Carnevale

We made Julia Child's classic buttery, lemony sole meuniére last night. Just as Julia never forgot the first time she ate this meal in France (it was a food epiphany for her!) I too will never forget my first taste of this dish that Dan made for us. It melted in my mouth like buttaaah. Okay, maybe because there is a lot of butter in the sauce. And it has lots of zesty lemon too. Butter and lemon, my favorite combo! You can always cut back on the butter, which I do and it's just as good. We always use fines herbs with this—a mix of chopped tarragon, chives, parsley, and chervil, because that's the way Julia first had it. Fresh chervil is difficult to find, but you should be able to find the other herbs at any market.

Cooking a la munière is a French term that translates to"of the miller's wife," because of the flour used in the process. The French call a brown butter sauce a beurre noisette, or hazelnut butter. However you call it, it's trés sublime. Cheers Julia!

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3/4 to 1 pound of sole or flounder fillets
1/4 cup or so of flour for coating the fish
2 tablespoons (total) chopped fresh chives, tarragon, parsley, and chervil
3 tablespoons to half a stick butter
2 tablespoons grape seed oil or clarified butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt + pepper to taste

Salt and pepper your sole (or flounder) fillets, and coat in flour. Heat grapeseed oil in a pan and quickly sauté the fillets, 2-3 minutes at a time depending on their size. Cook two minutes each side Remove fish and place on plates. Take a pepper towel and clean out pan, reduce heat to med low. Add butter in pan, heat until it bubbles and foams. The sizzling will stop, but keep heating for about 30 seconds more, swirling your pan. The milk solids have dropped to the bottom of the pan and this is what you are browning now to make your brown butter. It should be lightly brown with a nutty aroma. Pour in the lemon juice—it will sizzle like mad!! Taste and add salt if it needs it. Pour sauce over your sole fillets, and add your chopped herbs on top.

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