One of the biggest criticisms I hear about French food is that it’s complicated. While there are certainly dishes in the French repertoire that take a lot of work, Sole Meunière is not one of them. Taking a whole fifteen minutes from start to finish, it makes for a perfect weeknight meal.
Another common observation is that French food is heavy. I won’t lie to you, with three tablespoons of butter in it, Meunière is not a light sauce, however the bright flavors of the lemon let the browned butter work its wonders without feeling like you just ate two and half cubic inches of butter.
Crispy around the edges, while moist and tender towards the center, the sauce balances the rich nutty flavors of the browned butter with the tart, sunny flavor of lemon. Shallots and white wine aren’t a traditional addition to Meunière, but I love the depth they add, which is why they go into my version of the sauce.
While purists will argue that using Dover Sole is essential, I’m more of the school that freshness counts over species. Flounder Meunière may not have the same ring as Sole Meunière, but if it’s fresh, any flatfish will do.
I love pairing this with some creamy mashed Yukon gold potatoes with gruyer cheese, but it’s also wonderful with a crusty baguette to sop up the browned butter. If you’re serving this for brunch, try turning it into a sandiwich with some sliced avocados and mâche.
- 310 grams sole fillet (flounder or sand dabs also work well)
- all-purpose flour (for dusting)
- 3 tablespoons cultured unsalted butter
- 1/2 small shallot (minced about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine (such as sauvignon blanc)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- flat-leaf parsley (for garnish)
- Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the fillet and then lightly dust all surfaces of the fish with flour.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to a frying pan and heat over medium heat until the pan is hot and the butter has melted. Add the sole and fry on one side until cooked about half way through (the cooked part will appear opaque if you look at the side of the fillet). Carefully flip using 2 spatulas and fry until cooked through.
- To make the Meunière sauce, transfer the fish to a plate, then add the shallots to the butter. Fry until the shallots are tender and starting to brown.
- Add the white wine and boil until most of the liquid is gone. Finish the sauce by whisking in the lemon juice and zest along with the last tablespoon of butter. Pour the Meunière sauce over the fish. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.