Sole Florentine features sweet fillets of sole wrapped around a rich spinach filling. Add a creamy sauce and a topping of buttery cracker crumbs and it is easy to understand why this dish has long been a restaurant favorite. We built the base of the sauce by sautéing shallot, thyme, and garlic, and then whisking in cream. To thicken it, a simple slurry made with cream and cornstarch worked perfectly. For the filling we turned to frozen spinach, adding Parmesan to bind it and a little of the sauce for richness. After assembling the stuffed fillets, we simply added the sauce and sprinkled crushed Ritz crackers on top for crunch before baking. Try to buy fish fillets of equal size to ensure even cooking. Be sure to squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the thawed spinach or it will water down the sauce. To check the doneness of the fish, use the tip of a paring knife to prod the fish gently the flesh should be opaque and flaky, but still juicy.
- Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- Total Time: 55 Minutes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- Salt and pepper
- 20 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
- 8 (6-ounce) skinless sole fillets, ¼ to ½ inch thick
- 15 Ritz crackers, crushed fine
- Lemon wedges
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in thyme and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1¾ cups cream and bring to simmer. Whisk remaining ¼ cup cream and cornstarch together in bowl, then whisk mixture into saucepan and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Combine 1 cup sauce, spinach, and Parmesan in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pat sole dry with paper towels. Grease 13 by 9-inch baking dish with remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
- Place sole, skinned-side up, on clean counter. Divide spinach filling equally among sole fillets, mounding it in middle of each fillet. Fold tapered end of sole tightly over filling and then fold thicker end of fish over top to make tidy bundle. Arrange sole bundles in baking dish, seam side down, leaving small space between bundles, and press lightly to flatten. Pour remaining sauce over top.
- Sprinkle cracker crumbs over fish and bake until fish flakes apart when gently prodded with paring knife and filling is hot, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve with lemon wedges.