Dover sole’s firm and flat texture makes it perfect for pan-frying. This simple French recipe is a tried-and-true classic, perfect for a tasty weeknight meal but elegant enough for your next dinner party. Get the recipe below.
Total Recipe Time: 20-30 minutes
What You’ll Need:
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Dover sole (trimmed and skinned)
2 tbsp. canola oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
What to Do:
1) Season the sole with salt and pepper and dust with flour, shaking off the excess.
2) Over med-high heat add 3 tbs. of canola oil to a large, well-seasoned or nonstick frying pan. Add the fish and lower the heat slightly. Add 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter.
3) Sauté for 4–5 minutes over moderate heat until richly golden on the underside. Carefully turn the fish over and cook for 4–5 minutes longer. Baste occasionally with the butter.
4) Whether you serve the fish on the bone or debone prior to serving, the finished results will yield moist, succulent fillets. Deboning is actually very simple. Lift the fish onto a board. Working down first one side of the fish and then the other, trap the lateral bones (which run all around the outside edge of the fish and into the fillets) by pinching against the cutting board and dragging them away from the fillet with your knife.
5) Run the knife down the center of the fish and gently ease the 2 top fillets away from the bones.
6) Take hold of the bones at the head end and carefully “unzip” the fish. The bones will come away cleanly and the fillets will fall back into place.
7) Place the fish on a warmed serving plate and slightly part the top two fillets at what was the head end so that you can just see the underlying fillets.
8) Wipe the oil from the pan used to cook the fish and over medium heat add the remaining cubed butter. Shake the pan occasionally. The butter should foam and then brown. When it turns a rich golden brown, add the lemon juice and parsley and spoon over the fish.
9) The adding of capers, toasted croutons, and lemon segments to the browned butter before serving is a traditional variation called a la Grenobloise.
Tips on browning butter: butter consists of protein, butter fat, and water. When making brown butter the proteins are caramelized and the water is cooked off resulting in a nutty, complex flavor good for sauces, vegetable purées, and baking. To make brown butter, slowly heat a cubed stick of butter in a heavy bottom pan. Stir often, scraping the bottom of the pan frequently to avoid splatter and capturing the nutty browned bits. As the water cooks off it will bubble and foam. As the foam increases you should see the color of the bits change from golden to brown. When you have brown bits, carefully transfer the butter into a clean bowl and stir to cool. Brown butter tends to go from brown to burnt quickly. We like to make extra and store some in the freezer, as it can make many things taste better.