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Sole Filets with Lemon-Butter Sauce

I have to confess to having a bit of a phobia about making fresh fish, which I had tried to confront when I took a class at Astor Center last spring.  After that, I actually had a greater comfort level at thinking about cooking it, although I haven’t put much of the lesson into practice.  I’d made the refreshingly delicious Shrimp and Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette when the weather got warm last year, but I haven’t re-created any of the other dishes we did in the class.

On Sunday, I was with some friends checking out the Foodshed seasonal market at the Brooklyn Commons.  One of them was eyeing the fresh skate that Joseph Fisheries out of Montauk on Long Island had on display for sale.  She was telling us that her cooking method is to poach it and then eat it served over a green salad dressed with a vinaigrette.  I really like skate and always mean to try making it but rarely find it to buy.  I should have snagged the last piece that they had there.

Instead, we each bought one the lovely filets of grey sole that they were selling.  I haven’t ever cooked sole, and I’m not even sure that I remember eating it.  So, I pulled out Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking to see her recommendations for preparing it.  The recipe for poaching the fish in a wine and water combination sounded like it could work; however, I had a feeling that these filets were too thin to withstand an oven cooking method.

What I was really after was something incredibly simple with a flavorful sauce to balance the delicate fish.  I remembered from the class that I’d taken that we’d lightly floured the filets before cooking them.  Then, I had an idea from an Italian recipe that I’d used to make to create a sauce using a white wine reduction with a little bit of butter and lemon for a punch of flavor.  When I put these things together, I came up with a tasty dinner, fast and easy to make.  I really should look out for great, locally-caught fish more often as this is so simple to throw together on a weeknight.

Sole Filets with Lemon-Butter Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes Serving Size: 2 portions

Ingredients: 2 filets of Grey Sole 1/4 cup Flour 1/4 tsp. Salt pinch Black Pepper 2 tsp. Unsalted Butter 1 tsp. Olive Oil 1 small Shallot, very finely minced 1/2 cup dry White Wine 1 tsp. Lemon Juice Salt Pepper Parsley, chopped – optional

Assembly: Mix together flour and salt and pepper on a plate.  Dredge sole filets in the seasoned flour (cover completely on both sides).  Heat 1 tsp. butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium-low flame.

Place sole filets in the pan when the butter-oil mixture is foamy.  Cook for 2 minutes on the first side, until you can see along the side of the filet that it is cooked.  Turn over and cook on the second side for 1 minute.  Take out of the pan and put each filet on a plate.

Add shallots to the pan and cook for 1 minute until softened.  Pour the wine into the pan and stir to combine the shallots and any of the flour that might be left over from the fish.  Cook to reduce the liquid by half.  Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tsp. of butter to make the sauce glossy and thick.  Add the lemon juice and stir to incorporate.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour sauce over the plated fish.  Sprinkle with parsley if using.  Serve with a green salad, steamed spinach, or other vegetable and some crusty bread to soak up the last of the sauce.

Buon appetito!

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