Lightly dusted with flour and Herbes de Provence, and cooked in olive oil with capers, this Sole Meunière recipe is uncomplicated, takes 10 minutes to cook, and is perfect for a weeknight meal.
It is impossible to think about Sole Meunière without thinking of Julia Child – this is the first dish she ate upon arriving in France, starting her love affair with French cuisine. Lightly dusted with flour and Herbes de Provence, and cooked in olive oil with capers, this Sole Meunière recipe is uncomplicated, takes 10 minutes to cook and is perfect for a weeknight meal.
The geese honked their farewells as they flew over early this morning. Just hearing their call brought back that familiar feeling — the kind that you experience when you smell a familiar scent that pulls you back to a clear memory, distinct and real. There are certain things that trigger nostalgia and rich emotions for me — the scent of a newly opened crayon box, the crisp evening air after rain, the crunch of boots on newly fallen snow, the scent of chestnuts roasting — It’s amazing how easily our memories can come flooding back.
As I heard their honks fade in the distance, it made me realize that we really are in the thick of fall, but I suppose I didn’t need them to remind me. I know it from my calendar, and how each minute of the day is accounted for. The kids are especially committed this year, which means more time for me behind the wheel instead of the stove.
With less time to cook, I need to either find more minutes to the day or quicker recipes to make, and clearly, the latter is the easier of the two. One of our favorite fish recipes is Sole Meunière, a classic French dish that is homey and utterly simple. Dredged in flour and cooked in butter with a generous squeeze of lemon juice, over time, I have lightened our version with more olive oil, and brightening the sauce with capers and a touch of caper juice. Herbes de Provence adds an extra sprinkling of France, and what I love best about this dish is that I can get it on the table in 10 minutes.
This dish reminds me of cuddling with one of my favorite books, My Life in France. Julia Child’s vivid memory of stepping off the ship in Le Havre and driving to find lunch in Rouen and tasting Sole Meunière for the first time, which she described as a “morsel of perfection” is so captivating, you can picture yourself in that rustic home restaurant with her, dizzy with jet lag and wonder. With sheer joy and wonder at such a simple dish — who can resist cooking Sole Meunière and understanding how she fell head over heels in love with La Belle France? I can only imagine how the scent of browned butter and sole evoked such memories for Julia, as it now does for me.
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- 1 1/2 lb petrale sole or Dover sole
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice half a lemon
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 2 tablespoons caper juice
- 1 tablespoon butter or substitute with more olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- Pat the fish dry with paper towels.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in the flour, tapping off excess flour.
- Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the fish for about 2 minutes per side, until the fish is golden brown. Add more olive oil if necessary if the pan dries up. Transfer the fish to a platter and repeat until all the fillets are cooked.
- Lower the heat to medium-low. Stir in the lemon juice, capers and caper juice to the pan. Let the sauce bubble, then whisk in the butter (or more olive oil). Pour the sauce over the fish and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.
Looks great! Any recommendations for a side dish with this?
A touch of paprika in the flour mix will help brown the filets as they cook!
Yes! Very true – great tip!
Hiya- recipe looks yummy- very similar to what my Italian dad ate quite often (with the addition of garlic & copious amounts of black pepper haha)- but on a side note- when you’re waxing lyrically above above imagining JC arriving to France, by ship, she wouldn’t have been “jetlagged” ;-) because that is only a result of traveling by air (…or jet) so that your body clock hasn’t had time to catch up with the new local time it finds itself in after the travel…. whereas, when you travel by boat, your body adjusts slowly as it slowly moves through different time zones… Just an FYI from a boat & travel nerd lol.
But I look fwd to trying the recipe! :-)
Very good point about not being jetlagged!!☺️ Though I imagine that even crossing the Atlantic by ship, especially back then, must have been a different kind of tiring! I hope you enjoy the recipe – adding lots of garlic is something I do sometimes, too!
What fish can be substituted for sole?
Hi Gay! Some good substitutes for sole are flounder or cod. I hope that helps!
This recipe was perfect. Used grey sole, parsley from the garden and Meyer Lemons. Will definitely make this many more times. Thanks for the great recipe. Easy and delicious!!❤️
I’m so happy you loved it, Alison! I just made it again myself last night — it’s such a family favorite! I bet it was amazing from your homegrown parsley and Meyers!
thank you for this recipe and reminder that, yes, I do like fish (not most), a great reminder of a wonderful classic!
You’re so welcome, Sabrina!! Fish is so wonderful, especially when simply made!