Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Tired Old Sole

Well folks, I'm back with a recipe and back in the kitchen. While my knees are still incredibly wonky, I just couldn't go another day without making a real home cooked meal for myself. In my continued effort to cook with new ingredients I brought home some nice grey sole fillets earlier in the week. Grey sole is in the same family as flounder, halibut, and turbot, all of which are flatfish. They're generally darker on their top side and lighter on the bottom, and known for having both eyes on one side of their body. Grey sole is the smallest of these fish and therefore has the most delicate flavor. It's also super lean and the fillets are fairly thin, so it's perfect for a quick and healthy meal. I couldn't wait to make them for the first time, especially since I love having fish on hand for quick meals (they also hold up really well in the freezer).

I had two recipe ideas floating around in my head that I was hoping to test this week. The first was a tart, citrus carpaccio, and the second was some kind of fish picatta in honor of last week's episode of Top Chef. As I tried to decide what I should make, it occurred to me that a picatta would be similar to the salmon dish I'd made recently, and I didn't have the right kind of fish for the carpaccio. So I decided to combine the two dishes into one new dish and see if it would fly. I started out by coating the fish in flour (not breadcrumbs, like our dear, confused friend on Top Chef), pan fried it, then created a butter, wine and caper sauce that incorporated some of the citrus elements of my carpaccio dish. I happen to really love tart and sour flavors so this was an excellent way to work them into yet another dish.

The dish turned out great, even better than I expected. I didn't want to go totally overboard with the lemon juice since the fish was quite delicate, so I added a bit of orange juice to the sauce, which added just the right amount of sweetness, while continuing the citrus theme. It balanced out the lemon and the capers and tied everything together perfectly, along with some fresh parsley and a few spring onions. I topped the whole thing off with lemon segments for that extra sour bite, and a few julienned spring onions for color. Hopefully I'll be fully able to stand and cook something a bit more complex in the coming days, but in the meantime, this dish is delicious and bright, and I think you'll really like it.

Citrus-Grey Sole with Capers

3-4 grey sole fillets
All purpose flour
2 Tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin)
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Juice of half a lemon
1 lemon, peeled and cut into segments
3 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp capers, drained (or rinsed if salt packed)
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1/2 tsp parsley

1. Salt and pepper sole fillets and lightly dust with flour. Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat and cook fish until opaque, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove fish from pan and set aside.

2. Add wine, scrapping browned bits from bottom of the pan. Give it a minute to reduce, then add the lemon and orange juice, butter, capers and spring onions. Cook together about 5 minutes, add the parsley, then taste for seasoning.

3. Spoon sauce over fillets and top with lemon segments. Enjoy!


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