The classic French dish sole meunière illustrates the magic that happens when buttery meets lemony meets briny. Clearly, it worked for Julia Child; rumor has it this dish inspired her to start cooking at the age of forty.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 4 fillets flounder, red snapper, sole, or any thin,
- white delicate fish, 3 to 4 ounces each, skin on
- 1 scant cup all-purpose flour
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Neutral-flavored oil, such as grapeseed or canola
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 lemon, supremed, juice held separately (see how to use a paring knife)
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed if salt-packed or brined
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
How to Make It
- Remove the fish from the refrigerator 15 minutes prior to cooking to bring it to room temperature (this allows it to cook evenly). While the fish is tempering, set up the sauce ingredients.
- Spread the flour on a large plate. Pat the fillets dry and lightly season with salt and pepper on both sides. Holding the tail end of the fillet, dredge it in the flour, gently shaking off any excess.
- Heat a large skillet over high heat and pour in enough oil to fully cover the bottom of the pan. When the oil begins to shimmer but is not smoking, hold a fillet by the thin tail end and gently place the thicker end down first on the side of the skillet nearest to you, orienting the tail away from you. You want to start start cooking the thicker side first and to divert any potential oil splatters away from you. Add a second fillet to the pan if it will fit, but take care not to overcrowd the pan because then the fish will not properly sear.
- When the fillets have browned on the bottom and the outer edges begin to become opaque, 1 to 3 minutes, carefully flip and cook the other side until opaque and cooked through, another 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. The fish should flip easily; if it doesn’t, let it cook for another 30 seconds and try again. When the second side looks almost entirely opaque, transfer the fish to a warm plate. Cook the remaining fillets.
- Wipe out the pan with a dry, clean paper towel. Set the pan back on the stove over medium heat and add the butter. Cook gently until the butter smells nutty and turns golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, capers, and shallot. Swirl in the lemon supremes and parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Remove the pan from the heat, gently add the fillets back into the pan, and baste with the sauce.
- Serve immediately.