Fillet of Sole Frances

Easy, delicious and perfect for both, a satisfying weeknight dinner as well as for entertaining. I prefer grey sole fillets for this because they are delicate, yet firm, and seem to hold up well. If you need to, just substitute lemon sole, although you might need to halve the fillets before dredging to make them easier to work with.  The batter for the fish is very simple to prepare-It’s like making a custard for french toast, only a bit more “eggy” and the addition of parmesan cheese makes it savory (Yes, you can have cheese with fish…)

serves 2 generously & 4 adequately

Ingredients

  • 4 fillets of grey sole (about 1 1/2 pounds total), if unavailable, use lemon sole
  • 2/3 cup unbleached, all purpose flour (season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste)
  • 3 eggs (size doesn't matter), beaten with a fork (season with salt and pepper, to taste)
  • Splash of whole milk (about 3 tablespoons)
  • Scant 1/4 cup finely ground best-quality, freshly ground Parmesan cheese
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, divided 2 tablespoons to sear fish and 4 tablespoons for sauce
  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • Chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, to taste

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Learn to Cook for more information.

Kitchen jargon mentioned in this recipe

Mince: To chop into very small pieces.
Sauté: To cook or brown foods quickly in a small amount of hot fat (usually butter or oil).
Simmer: When a liquid is heated to the point where small bubbles are seen slowly forming under the top surface (210° F). These bubbles will burst before they reach the surface. Simmering takes place just before a mixture reaches the boiling point.


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Shopping List

Canned & Jarred Goods
1/4 cup capers, drained
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

Dairy & Eggs
3 eggs (size doesn't matter), beaten with a fork (season with salt and pepper, to taste)
3/4 stick unsalted butter, divided 2 tablespoons to sear fish and 4 tablespoons for sauce
Scant 1/4 cup finely ground best-quality, freshly ground Parmesan cheese

Dry Goods
2/3 cup unbleached, all purpose flour (season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste)

Meat & Seafood
4 fillets of grey sole (about 1 1/2 pounds total), if unavailable, use lemon sole
Large non-stick skillet

Produce
1 large shallot, minced (about 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
Chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, to taste

Spirits
1/2 cup dry white wine

To set up

Rinse the fish and dry well. Place on a plate lined with wax paper and season both sides lightly with salt and pepper. Place, in assembly-line fashion, the seasoned flour, the seasoned eggs with milk parmesan cheese (using a pie dish is a good shape for the egg mixture). Have this, along with the fish fillets, close to the stove. Have a platter warming, ready to receive the fish.

To cook fish

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with a very layer of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add 2 tablespoons of the butter and, while butter is melting (working with one fillet at a time) dredge the fish in the seasoned flour and smack off the excess. Dip into the egg batter, coating both sides (allowing excess to drip back in pan) and then lay in the hot fat in the pan. Try to work quickly to help fill the pan before the fat overheats (reduce heat if needed). Cook the fish until golden on both sides and fillets are cooked through (this happens pretty quickly with grey sole fillets). Using a large turning spatula, remove the fish fillets, as they are cooked, to the warmed platter. (If your skillet wasn't large enough to cook all fillets at one time, you might need to add some more fat to the pan, as needed.) Cover platter to keep fish warm.

To make the sauce and finish the dish

Pour out fat from pan. Put the pan back over medium-high heat and add 1/2 stick butter. When butter is hot and bubbling, add the minced shallot and saute until softened and fragrant, then add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a brisk bubble. Reduce the liquid by about 1/2 and then add the capers, along with some chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Spoon the sauce over the cooked fish and serve hot.

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