Pan Fried Dover Sole aka Sole Meunière

It’s said that this classic French dish is what created Julia Child’s life long passion for French cuisine.

It is very good and it\’s flawless in its simplicity and attention to detail. It uses copious amounts of clarified butter and is finished with brown butter. Add some lemon juice, salt, pepper and fresh parsley and there you have it. As always, I suggest you prepare the classic dish and taste it before you start to change it around.


I wanted to try and create a slightly healthier version utilizing a plant based butter and EVOO. I really didn’t know if it would work, but I have to say I was very happy with the results.

As I had some really lovely capers on hand, I added those, which made this more of a fish piccata, but cooking is about experimenting.

Since there are so few ingredients, it’s very important to use the freshest you can find. If you can’t find Dover sole, which can be tough  then a good substitute is Pacific Dover sole. It’s not actually sole, not from Dover, obviously, but a flounder.


Ingredients

1 lb Sole filets
Flour for dusting the filets
Salt and Black or White Pepper
6 Tbsp Earth Balance or similar plant based butter. Mykonos vegan butter would work well here. Keep 2 Tbsp aside to finish the sauce.
2 Tbsp EVOO
Juice of one Lemon
3 Tbsp Capers, optional
Freshly chopped Parsley

Preheat you over to its lowest setting. As you are going to cook the filets in batches, the oven will keep them warm.
Begin by seasoning your flour with salt and pepper. Then season your filets, knocking off any excess flour.

Heat your sauté pan over medium/ high heat add in 1/2 of the butter (2 Tbsp) and 1/2 of EVOO and wait until the butter is sizzling and gently place in half of the filets, without crowding them.


Sauté until golden brown and flip over. Usually it’s about 2-3 minutes per side depending on thickness. Remove from the pan with your fish spatula and on a warm plate and into the oven.

Then same procedure with the rest of the filets. And into the oven.

Add your retained 2 Tbsp of butter to the sauté pan, add your capers, chopped parsley and lemon juice and reduce for maybe 1 minute. Pour this sauce over your warm filets and serve immediately.

 

Note: if you would like a more traditional dish, then omit the capers and just add your retained 2 tablespoons of butter and lemon juice to the pan and reduce. Then pour the sauce over the filets and sprinkle the fresh parsley on the top.

Bagna Cauda Pasta

This is simple to make and ready in minutes. Packed with flavor and so satisfying. I’ve adjusted the recipe so that really works well over pasta.

There are so many recipes for bagna cauda and it is commonly used in Italy as a dip for raw vegetables. It translates as “hot bath”. It is wonderful as a dip, but over pasta, it think it’s incredible. It’s an umami bomb.

The only critical steps are to use the best possible ingredients, as there are not many and to finish the pasta in the saucepan with a bit of pasta water to really coat the pasta and create a creamy texture.

Finally, as it is an oil/butter based sauce, I think a long thin pasta is a better choice.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp Butter
5 cloves Garlic, smashed
1/4 cup Onions, finely minced.
2 Oz tin of flat Anchovies in Olive Oil
Splash of White Wine
Juice and zest of one medium Lemon.
Chili Flakes to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 lb Spaghetti or Linguine
1 Tbsp fresh chopped ParsleyFreshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Begin by starting your water for the pasta. I tend to salt it a bit less than normal, as the anchovies are salty.

Add your butter to a saucepan that will be large enough to accommodate the pasta for finishing. If this is not an option, then you can finish in the pasta pan. A 14\” inch sauté pan is perfect.

Add your garlic and onion and gently sauté them. Add your anchovies with the olive oil from their can. I find this gives a really nice flavor. This is why they need to be packed in olive oil. Sauté them until the anchovies melt into the sauce.

When you water is boiling, add your pasta and remember to cook it about two minutes less than al dente, as you are going to finish it in the pan.

Add your lemon juice, zest, white wine and black pepper to the saucepan and keep the heat at medium to thicken the sauce.

Use a Pyrex cup to dip out about 3/4 cup of the boiling pasta water and set it aside. Drain your pasta and put it back into the saucepan or the pasta pot and increase the heat to medium high. Toss with the sauce, a bit of the cheese and the pasta water a bit at a time until it becomes creamy. About two additional minutes.

Finish with the parsley and the rest of cheese and serve.