East Coast Sole Meunière
There is nothing like an East Coast sole. As we walked into the Checkers store, the soles were sitting on a bed of ice, eyes glistening. I have never seen sole this fresh. Other than the one Lara caught from the lagoon a few years back. They were ginormous. They were begging to go home with us. And they were so inexpensive. R99 per kilo. For fish this fresh it is an absolute steal!
Sole is one of those fish that the less you do with it, the better it is. As it is an “oily fish”, you don’t even need to worry about it drying out or turning out tasteless. It retains its flavour and its firmness beautifully.
Add to your dictionary of cooking terms: “Sole meunière” is a classic French dish consisting of sole, whole or fillet, that is dredged in milk and flour, fried in butter and served with the resulting brown butter sauce and lemon.
So simple, even I can make it!
|Fresh East Coast sole||1,5kg (2 large soles)|
|Flour||Enough for coating|
|Lemon||2 lemons, 1 halved for squeezing, 1 sliced in wedges|
How we went about it:
- The first thing about fresh fish is you have to scale it. Luckily, in my fishing kit there was a scaling knife. A scaling knife has large, dull teeth. You scrape over the fish and the scales simply come off. Sole has small scales, but as they were large soles, I decided to scale them properly.
- I then removed the top and bottom fins. For a flat sand fish, this could be called the left and right fins? I sliced the fins about 1 cm into the meat to reveal most of the pin bones on the sides. When the fish cooks, the flesh pulls back, revealing the pin bones so that you can easily remove the fish from the bone.
- I then had to use the large roasting pan, as the soles were too large to pan-fry, as you typically would in sole meunière.
- I turned the grill up high, and set it to grill only from the top. So I kind of reversed the heating process. On holiday, who cares?
- I rubbed the soles with butter and rolled them in flour. I added nothing to the flour, no salt or pepper.
- I out the rest of the butter in the roasting pan and saw to it that it covered the bottom (heating it and swirling the pan). I then popped it into the roasting pan and squeezed half a lemon over the fish.
- I grilled it for about 2 minutes, and it went golden.
- I then turned them around carefully, as not to break them. I squeezed the other half of the lemon on this side.
- Once again, 2 minutes, and the fish is done. The butter is now browned and flavoured with the fish and the lemon juice. The taste is fresh and beautiful.