Saturday, October 27, 2007

Julia Child: Sole Meunière

This recipe almost seems too simple to be true.  The fish is just quickly fried in butter with some lemon and parsley at the end.  And this is also the dish transcendental dish that gave us the Julia Child we all know and love.  Is it truly perfection?  For all of its simplicity, I'm going to have to say yes.  Everything is so perfectly balanced: just slightly crisp fish, rich butter, tart lemon.

Sole Meunière
Adapted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child

4 to 6 skinless, boneless fillets Dover sole
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
About 4 tablespoons clarified butter
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Salt and pepper, to taste

Dry the fish, trim and flatten it. Lay it out on a sheet of wax paper.

Dust the fillets lightly on each side with salt and pepper. The moment before sauteing, rapidly drop each into the flour to coat both sides, and shake off the excess. Set the frying pan over high heat and film with 16-inch of clarified butter. When the butter is very hot, but not browning, rapidly lay in as many fillets as will fit easily, leaving a little space between each. Sauté a minute or two on one side, turn carefully so as not to break the fillet, and sauté a minute or two on the other side. The fish is done when just springy rather than squashy to the touch of your finger. Immediately remove from the pan to warm plates or a platter. (Or, if you are sauteing in 2 batches, keep the first warm for the few minutes necessary in a 200ºF oven.

Sprinkle each fillet with parsley. Wipe the frying pan clean, set over high heat, and add the fresh butter, heat until bubbling and pour over fillets - the parsley will bubble up nicely. Decorate with lemon wedges, and serve at once.

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