2 as main course
Meunière translates as “miller’s wife,” referring to the flour used to dredge the fish before it is cooked. This acts as a protective barrier, preventing the delicate flesh from drying out. I use lemon sole for my meunière (Dover sole is just too expensive), but why not try other fish such as Pacific halibut or even trout? If you have a reputable local fishmonger, have a chat with him to see what he recommends. A key factor in making this dish delicious is the brown butter and lemon sauce, although the capers and chopped parsley make a tasty addition too.
- 2 fillets of lemon sole (about 5 oz each), skin removed
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- a generous pinch of pepper
- 1½ tbsp sunflower oil
- 3 tbsp butter, cut into cubes
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp small capers (optional)
- Check the fish for small bones and use tweezers to pull out any that you find.
- Mix the flour with the salt and pepper and spread out over a large plate. Pat the fish fillets in the flour so they are evenly coated, and shake off any excess.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, When the oil is smoking hot, place the fish fillets, fleshy-side down, in the pan and lower the heat to medium. Cook for 1–2 minutes on one side until golden, then turn the fillets over and cook for another 1–2 minutes until the second side is golden.* Place the fish on a warmed plate and cover with aluminum foil.
- Wipe the pan with paper towels and return to a medium heat.
- Add the cubes of butter and heat until they melt and become light brown, then turn off the heat and add the lemon juice (stand back a little as it will splatter).
- Add the parsley and capers (if using) and swirl the contents of the pan around. Return the fish to the pan, spoon over the juices, and serve immediately.
*Flat fish fillets need only 1–2 minutes cooking on each side. If you’re cooking thicker slices or fillets from a fish like trout (¾–1¼ inches thick), then 3–4 minutes on each side should be fine.