Quite often I come across people who are not familiar with Petrale Sole. Awareness of this fish is similar to how it behaves at the bottom of the ocean. Shaped like an oval platter with one side of its skin olive brown and the other creamy white, it eludes predators, swimming incognito on the bottom of the sea floor. However, once aware of its ease in cooking, you will never forget this amazing seafood. I love its firm flesh and mild flavor.
Because Petrale sole filets are thin, they cook in just minutes, making them a great choice for weekday cooking. My recommended way for cooking is very simply in the “Meuniere-style”. This is a French cooking method named for the “Miller’s wife”. It refers to a style of cooking in which food is lightly coated in seasoned flour and sautéed simply in butter. Allowing the butter to brown and squeezing fresh lemon juice over the sole adds wonderful flavor. I’ve updated this classic recipe with tarragon one of my favorite herbs.
Petrale sole is considered a “premium” fish found in the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Mexico and available year round. Two things to be aware of. One is that windy conditions on the coast sometimes preclude fisherman from catching it. The other is that it is pricey. But the fillets are typically light even though they cover a lot of surface area with their dimension. To serve four a pound will do.
- 4 petrale sole fillets
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon (3/4 teaspoon dried can be substituted)
- 1 cup flour
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 cube) butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (used as it helps so butter does not burn in pan)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Sprinkle both side of fillets with salt, pepper and tarragon. Put flour in a shallow dish; dredge both sides of fillets in flour, lightly patting and shaking off excess; set aside (fillets can be stored in the refrigerator at this point for 1 hour).
- Melt butter and oil in large sauté pan over medium high heat until butter is bubbling; add sole fillets in a single layer (this can be done in two batches if your pan is not big enough). Cook until edges of fillets turn opaque and fish is browned, about 2 minutes. Gently turn fillets over and cook until fish is no longer translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Remove fillets to serving plates; pour any pan drippings over fillets. Squeeze lemon juice over fillets.