Sole Meunière, French Potato Salad, Orange and Fennel Salad

By Ira

Start cooking the French Potato Salad first as the this takes the longest to prepare due to the length of time it takes for the potatoes to boil (20 minutes), followed by the Orange and Fennel salad which can easily be done while the potatoes are boiling, followed by the Sole Meunière which takes only 10 minutes to cook (including prep time).

Sole Meunière

Sole Meunière is a very easy and quick meal to prepare. It takes only 10 minutes from start to finish. It is also very delicious and elegant. I have served this on many occasions at dinner parties. It doesn’t have a “fishy” taste as the flavors of lemon and butter shine through.

Serves 2 – but this can easily be doubled to serve 4.

Adapted (a lot!) from cook’s illustrated

If the sole fillets you buy are little ones, you might want to reserve 2 small fillets per person

Fish

  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 sole fillets or flounder fillets
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

 Butter sauce

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped  fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1/2 a lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • salt and pepper

If you’re making more than 2 fillets, preheat the oven to 200F so you can keep the first batch of the fish warm while you’re cooking the second batch.

Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Let stand for 5 minutes until they are glistening with moisture before coating them with flour on both sides.

While the fish are standing for 5 minutes, you can make the sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. For a traditional Sole Meunière, you need to brown the butter (ie. continue cooking the butter while swirling the pan constantly for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes). This gives the butter a nutty aroma. However, since I don’t like the taste of browned butter and prefer the taste of the lemon to dominate the fish, I don’t brown the butter.

Whichever method you choose, take the pan off the heat, add the lemon juice, parsley leaves, capers (again not used in traditional Sole Meunière), salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until fish is cooked.

In a nonstick skillet, over medium high heat, melt the butter.

When foaming subsides, add the fish. Don’t touch it until the bottom is golden brown about 2 1/2 – 3 minutes.

Flip the fish gently and cook the other side for another 2 minutes. The fish is done when it can separate easily into flakes. Transfer to a serving plate. If you need to cook more fish, then place the plate in the oven. Otherwise, spoon the sauce on top and serve (the sauce needs to go on the fish at the last minute before serving, so don’t put it in the oven with the sauce on, otherwise, the parsley will loose its fresh taste).

French Potato salad 

Serves 4

Adapted (a lot!) from Ina Garten’s recipe

  • 2 pounds small white boiling potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons champagne / apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 small cornichons, sliced

In a medium pot over high heat, bring the the potatoes to boil in water and 1 tablespoon salt. Reduce the heat to simmer. This will take about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender but not mushy.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, chicken stock, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Set aside.

 

When the potatoes are cool enough, cut them into quarters or halves, depending on their size. Add them to the large bowl of dressing. This is best done while the potatoes are warm enough to absorb the dressing. Mix gently. Add the onion, parsley, and cornichons. Before serving, check if it needs additional salt and pepper.

Fennel and Orange Salad

This is a simple, tasty, and fresh salad.

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 large orange (or 2 small oranges)
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Take the outer layer off the fennel and discard. Cut in half. Take out the core as it it can be hard. Slice it up and add to a medium bowl. Separate the orange into segments. Do this over the bowl so the juice falls into it. Season with a pinch of salt and the olive oil. Stir gently.

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