Very popular at the court of King Louis XIV, the sole is one of the dishes in French cuisine considered as “noble” fish. The term “meuniere” refers to the miller (meunier), the artisan manufacturing wheat flour, because the sole is coated with flour before going to cooking.
The delicate flesh of the sole is very popular since ancient times. The Romans were very fond of the fish they willingly tasted pickled in salt.
The age of Louis XIV made it a high-end food, described as “royal food” and, in the 19th century, the greatest chefs dug in their inspiration to create dishes worthy of its finesse.
Sole lives in sandy and muddy bottoms of warm seas and cold water, depending on the species in question. Buried all day in the sand, it goes hunting for shellfish to feed at night. North Sea, English Channel, east coast of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic and Pacific are full of different varieties of this fish whose size and flavor vary significantly. Thus, nets and trawlers catch fish from 10 to 60 cm with an average weight of 200 g, it sometimes reaches 1 kg. A standard minimum size for sale in the Mediterranean is 24 cm.
The family of Soleidae, sole is a flat oval fish, whose eyes are to the right of the upper surface. Its weapon is camouflage, it takes on the color of the environment where the fish lives and thus shades from beige to black. The belly, for its side, is completely white. It lives down to 130 meters deep: it is these species that are the most popular.
Prepared “meuniere”, sole is first floured and fried, sprinkled with chopped parsley before being topped with a melted nutty and lemony butter. It is served immediately, decorated with a few slices of lemon and accompanied by mashed potatoes “homemade” or fragrant rice. Enjoy it with a stylish and elegant white wine, such as Puligny-Montrachet or Sancerre.
Whiting, bream, salmon … This method of food preparation may well apply to most fish, whether whole or in filets, but also for many other dishes such as frogs and offal.
Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 30 min
For 6 people
• 6 soles, skin on
• 100 grams of butter
• 60 g flour
• 2 lemons +2 for service
• salt and pepper, chopped parsley
1. Place the flour in a large shallow dish.
2. Rub the soles on one side then the other, so that the flour completely covers the fish.
In a skillet, melt half the butter and let it warm up until it takes a hazel colour, paying attention not to burn it. Then put the soles, skin side first (backside). When the skin is golden brown, flip the fish and cook for a few minutes, watching carefully so it does not come undone due to excessive cooking time.
4. Reserve the fish.
5. Heat the remaining butter until it turns nutty brown. Then add the juice of two lemons.
6. Pour the melted butter on the soles before serving, seasoned and accompanied by lemon wedges and chopped parsley.
Proposed support: fragrant white rice (basmati) or brown rice or bouiled potatoes.
Recommended wine: white wine (Sancerre)