06 June 2012
Sole meunière & green bean almondine
At the grocery store this weekend, the fish case beckoned. It especially beckoned when we realized that sole was on sale for $3.99/lb. Oh, really?
So John made me a feast this Sunday afternoon. Classical French food for brunch! Butter for all!
This type of brunch combination is by far my favorite. Perfectly cooked fish or eggs with an equal or greater amount of beautifully contrasting green vegetables? Yes, please.
Since fish cooks quickly, get all your ingredients ready before you start cooking.
Prep your sole by patting it dry, salting and peppering each side, and coating it in a thin layer of flour, knocking off any excess. Finely chop a shallot and a handful of parsley (or two of each, if you're making green beans as well). Have your butter out and a knife ready to cut it. That's about all the prep you need to do, actually. Simple.
Heat a frying pan of your choice on medium to medium-high. When hot, add a bit of olive oil, swirl it around to coat, and lay in your piece of fish. Let it cook without moving for about three to four minutes, or until golden brown and beginning to curl around the edges. Carefully flip your filet with an adequately large spatula, and cook the other side for another three to four minutes.
Put the finished sole filet on a warmed plate and stick it in a low oven to keep warm. Put your fish pan back on the heat and add a generous pat of butter. As soon as it melts, tip in your shallots and stir to mix. Since your pan will be hot, the butter will begin to turn brown and the shallot will cook almost immediately. Don't let the butter burn! You want a medium hazelnut color, aka beurre noisette. Cook for a scant minute before you pull the pan off the heat. Immediately squeeze in some lemon juice--its cooler temperature will stop the butter's cooking--and mix in the parsley.
Pull your plate of sole out of the oven, pour the sauce over it, and serve with your finished beans and a lemon wedge.
Green bean almondine
Start by trimming and blanching as many green beans as you want to eat. Simply drop your beans into a pot of boiling water and simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until the beans are cooked through but still tender. Shock the finished beans in cold water, drain them, and set them aside.
In the meantime, chop up a handful of almonds. Don't worry too much about making all the pieces uniform; irregular bits are more interesting to eat anyway. Toast the almonds in a little pan over medium heat, watching closely and stirring occasionally. When they begin to get fragrant and turn just barely golden, take them off the heat and set them aside.
If you haven't already done it with the fish prep, finely chop a shallot and cut up a handful of fresh parsley.
Now we're ready for the final stage of cooking. You'll want to start this at just about the same time you put your fish on to cook.
Put a frying pan of your choice on medium heat. We used the pan in which we toasted the almonds. Melt a chunk of butter and slowly sauté the chopped shallot in it. After about two minutes, during which the shallot will start to sweat and turn translucent, add the green beans and almonds, and squeeze the juice of your lemon wedge into the pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper, stir everything together, and let cook, turning the heat down a touch if necessary, for about five minutes.
When your beans (and fish) are done, turn off the heat and stir in the chopped parsley. Correct any seasonings and serve.