Don’t be Intimidated – Sole Meunière

by Pamela

Sole meuniere, classic french recipes, fish recipes, easy recipes, julia child

Sole meunière. Sounds intimidating doesn’t it. Just looking at the words makes you think it’s some kinda fancy schmancy thing that’s definitely going to be hard to make. Don’t be intimidated! While Julia Child ate this as her first lunch in Paris, and swooned (yes, she swooned), she went on to eventually make this dish and write the recipe in her famous cookbook so that we all could make this swoon worthy dish. And it truly is.

There are more than a couple of classic French recipes synonymous with France. Things like  baguettes, escargot, macarons and duck confit. While these things are all nice, very nice, there’s one dish that Julia Child would go on and on about. That dish…sole meunière.

Sole meunière is a really simple dish (look at the picture…does it look like much?) but that’s where the deliciousness lies…in its simplicity. We’re only talking about seven ingredients, including the fish. Yes, that’s really it. Of course the key to this dish and its amazing flavor lies within the sole. Fresh Pacific sole (not the Atlantic sole, since that’s been over fished).

Classic French Dishes

Sole really isn’t a very pretty fish, as far as beautiful fish go. It’s gray, flat and has two eyes on top of its head instead of on either side (since it’s flat…it doesn’t really have another side for an eye). If you want to learn something interesting about sole, Google it and find out how/why its eyes are there and it doesn’t have the normal fish shape. It really is pretty fascinating.

But I digress.

As we go through life, we learn that simple is best and sometimes the hardest things to make are the simplest. That would be true of sole meunière too. First, you’ve got to source the fish. But after that, you’ve got to use other great ingredients and have some patience. Yes, patience. The hardest part about making this is turning the fish over without having it break apart. This might be the culinary equivalent of Mr. Miyagi teaching you how to catch a fly with chopsticks. Some claim that you need a special fish spatula to turn the fish without breaking, but I use a standard silicon hamburger flipper.

If you’re looking for a a decadent dish, that doesn’t take hours to make and really will impress…this is your dish.

Don't be Intimidated - Sole Meunière
Prep time
Cook time
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Sole meunière, is one of those classic French dishes. Julia Child named it her favorite meal in France. Don't be intimidated, sole meunière is easy to make.
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: French
Serves: 2
  • 1 Large Lemon
  • 1 Pound Boned Sole Fillets (6-7 inches long are the perfect length. If longer, cut in half.)
  • Kosher Salt
  • All Purpose Flour
  • 4-5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Drained Capers
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • ¼ Cup Parsley (chopped)
  • White Pepper
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Wash lemon thoroughly and slice into thin rounds and set aside.
  3. Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Sprinkle fillets lightly with salt.
  5. Pour a bit of flour onto a plate and dredge fillets, on both sides, with flour. Shake off excess flour. Lay the fillets on a large plate or baking sheet.
  6. In a large frying pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over high heat.
  7. When the pan is hot, lay the fillets side by side in the pan without crowding them and cook until browned on the bottom, 1½ to 2 minutes.
  8. Turn fillets with a wide spatula and brown the other side, 1 to 2 minutes longer (if butter is darkening too much, reduce heat to medium-high).
  9. Transfer fillets to an ovenproof plate, laying fillets side by side, and keep warm in oven.
  10. If there are fillets left over, that wouldn't fit in the first pan, melt another tablespoon of butter in the pan and cook them the same way.
  11. Wipe frying pan clean with paper towels and return to high heat. Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons butter, lemon slices and the capers to the clean pan; stir until butter is melted.
  12. Add lemon juice, remove from heat, and stir in all but 1 tablespoon of the parsley.
  13. Pour butter mixture over fish fillets.
  14. Arrange the lemon slices on the plates with the fillets next to them.
  15. Sprinkle fish with remaining parsley, white pepper and salt (if needed).
  16. Serve

This is an adaptation of the  sole meunière recipe in Sunset Magazine


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Marisa Franca @ All Our Way April 14, 2015 at 5:34 pm

We love our fish recipes. This is on my bucket list for my blog. My hubby loves to fish so I’ll probably use a flounder or perhaps a sea trout or sea bass. And you are right — the amount of ingredients don’t make the fish. I just made a sea trout with so few ingredients it was ridiculous but boy did it turn out good. BTW, I’ve just discovered your blog and it is wonderful — I’ve signed on. :-0

Pamela April 14, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Thanks Marisa…you just totally made my day!!!! As to the fish. Yeah, the simpler the better. I had a type of lake fish that I used to fix with ju8st a coating of Miracle Whip then on the grill. I know it sounds gross, but it tasted really good. I swear!

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef April 12, 2014 at 6:42 pm

That last photo could grace the pages of the most posh food magazine. You’ve turned a scary dish into doable. Well done.

Pamela April 13, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Thanks for the compliments Maureen. This dish is really easy, but it looks hard. With so few ingredients, you can really taste everything. The sole I got that day was ridiculously fresh and delicious. I HAD to make this. 😉

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