Simple Sole Meunière

Pan-fried with lemon is how my dad used to cook his freshly caught Georgian Bay bass. Later I discovered this was an age-old classic French dish. The first time I made this for my kids, I was nervous they wouldn't go for it, since they were so used to baked fish sticks. But Fin fell in love with it, and it immediately went on his "Fin's Dinners" list. 

SERVES 4

  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 sole fillets, each 5 oz (150 g)
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) grapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C).
Combine flour with salt and pepper to taste in a large shallow plate. Pat sole fillets dry with paper towels.
Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter and quickly swirl. Dredge 2 sole fillets in the seasoned flour on both sides, carefully shaking off excess, and place them in the hot pan.
Cook for 2 minutes or until fish loosens from the pan and is lightly golden underneath. Add half the lemon zest and half the lemon juice, then turn fish carefully with a thin spatula. Cook for 2 minutes on the other side.
As soon as fish is cooked through, carefully transfer to warm plates and keep fish warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the remaining 2 fillets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately with lemon wedges and a good sprinkle of chopped parsley and lemon zest. (I have sometimes omitted the parsley — a classic ingredient for this dish — because the green flecks threw off the kids, but please add liberally!) Serve with steamed rice and your favourite vegetable. I love this fish with grilled asparagus or grilled radicchio.

 
mainsRennie Chun