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Lemon Sole in Browned Butter

When I feel like having fish for dinner, I never know what I’ll choose until I get to the store and see what looks freshest. On this particular day, the lemon sole at the fish market was particularly appealing – good size filets that were white as snow and looking quite firm and fresh.

Flounder or fluke, caught in the Atlantic Ocean, are also delicious in this recipe, although they’re not as delicate as sole. However, on my first ever deep sea fishing trip recently, I caught a large fluke that also turned out to be the biggest catch on board that day. So I not only hauled in a great meal, but also the cash prize (the pool) for the largest fish caught. I don’t know how much it weighed, but it was big, as you can see from the photo, and we enjoyed two meals from it.

I didn’t get good photos of our meal that night, so when I saw the beautiful lemon sole for sale at the fish market, I knew I wanted to try to capture better photos and write a blog post about this recipe. Incidentally, if you’re puzzled as to what’s the difference between flounder and fluke, click here to decipher it. I’m still confused, but as long as they both taste good, who cares?

If you’re looking for a quick and delicious way to enjoy fish filets, with this recipe, you can be eating diner in ten minutes from start to finish. Start by seasoning the filets with salt and pepper, then dredging them (and shaking off the excess) then sautéing them in some olive oil and butter. Brown on one side, then carefully flip over and do the same on the other side.

Meanwhile, sauté the slivered almonds until they’re a toasty golden brown, and make the brown butter sauce, keeping a close watch on it so it doesn’t burn.

Place the filets on a platter, then pour the sauce onto the fish through a sieve, so you don’t get any of the dark solid bits that settled on the bottom of the saucepan. Scatter the toasted almonds on top, and a little parsley. If you’ve got lemon balm, try it instead of parsley in recipes like this one. It grows like a weed in my garden and comes back each year with a vengeance. I’m forever finding it springing up in beds all over the yard, where I yank it out, but I try to keep a little patch going for culinary use.

And now — for what in the journalism business is called “burying the lede,” here’s the biggest news of the week.. the month… the year! –  the birth of my granddaughter, Aurelia Jean. Welcome to the world, amore.

Lemon Sole in Browned Butter
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pieces of filet of sole, or flounder, or fluke
  • flour for dredging
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • FOR THE BROWN BUTTER SAUCE;
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • juice of half a lemon
Instructions
  1. Make the toasted almonds first:
  2. Take the slivered almonds and put them in a saucepan on medium high heat without any butter or oil.
  3. (If you use butter, the solids will turn brown and make the almonds look "dirty."
  4. Toss the almonds in the pan until they are light golden brown. They will burn quickly so don't leave the pan for a second.
  5. Remove the almonds to a clean plate, while you cook the fish and make the brown butter sauce.
  6. Sprinkle the filets with salt and pepper, and dredge them in flour, shaking to remove the excess.
  7. There should be just a light coating of flour.
  8. In a frying pan, melt the butter and add the olive oil.
  9. When they have reached a sizzle, turn up the heat to medium high, and add the filets.
  10. Cook for just 2-3 minutes until the bottom has turned a light golden brown.
  11. Carefully flip and repeat on the other side.
  12. To make the brown butter sauce, place the butter in a saucepan and turn up the heat to medium. Melt the butter and let it continue to sizzle in the pan. Be careful to keep a close watch on it, because it can go from yellow to dark brown in an instant.
  13. When it is a golden brown color, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice.
  14. Pour over the cooked fish, using a strainer to eliminate any dark solid bits.
  15. Sprinkle the almonds over the cooked fish, and some parsley (or lemon balm) and serve.
 

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Flounder And Fennel With Lemon And Oranges

Flounder and Fennel with Lemon and Oranges

 The older I get, the harder it becomes to shed those extra pounds. It seems like the resolve I had to lose weight at the beginning of the year is always thwarted by another dinner party, another restaurant meal, another gift of chocolates or some other temptation that I’ve been given.

I confess I’m not very good at resisting all these treats, but in an attempt to ameliorate the extra calories that pile on, I cook a meal like this and it helps assuage any guilt.
But I don’t make this meal just because of the lower caloric load. It’s also because it just tastes so delicious. The fish was caught locally off New Jersey shores and that helps. The short cooking time and technique also ensures you’ll have a flaky and moist piece of fish to serve. It’s quick and easy enough to prepare for a weeknight meal, but good enough for company too.
Start by buttering an ovenproof dish and slicing fennel into “matchsticks.” Salt and pepper the fennel,  then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for about 10 minutes at 475 degrees F.
Remove from the oven then place the fish on top of the fennel.
Scatter a little butter on top (I used less than 1 T. for two servings), season the fish, and place slices of lemon and orange on top. Squeeze more juice and some white wine over all and bake for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle a little parsley on top, serve with a side of veggies and enjoy a no-guilt meal.

 

Ciao Chow Linda is also on Instagram, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Click here to connect with me on Facebook, here for my Pinterest page, here for my Twitter feed and here for my Instagram page to see more of what I’m cooking up each day.



Flounder and Fennel with Lemon and Oranges
printable recipe here

For Two Servings:

Two pieces of flounder or fluke (about 6 oz. each)
1/2 fennel bulb
1 T. butter
1 clementine or small orange
1 lemon
1/4 cup dry white wine
salt, pepper
minced parsley

Lightly grease an ovenproof pan with a little of the 1 T. butter. You’ll use the rest of the butter on the fish later.
Slice the fennel into “matchstick” size pieces. Scatter them in the pan, season with salt and pepper and cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake in a 475 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, and place the fish over the fennel. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze the juice of half a clementine or small orange, and half a lemon over the top. Pour 1/4 cup dry white wine over the fish and dab with the rest of the 1 T. butter.
Cover with the aluminum foil and place back in the oven for 10 minutes, or until fish is cooked through and flaky. It may take less than 10 minutes if your fish pieces are thin, so check after five or six minutes)

 

Flounder With Roasted Grapes

Flounder with Roasted Grapes

 Roasted grapes, what took me so long to discover your delights? Fellow bloggers like Stacey, Marie and Domenica have been praising your virtues for a while, and I even posted a recipe years ago from Lidia featuring sausages in the skillet with grapes. Well, maybe I was lagging when it came to roasting grapes myself, but since trying them this past weekend, I’ve finally come on board.

The natural sweetness of grapes becomes even more intense after a roasting at high temperature in the oven, and adds a jammy, fruity taste to anything you pair it with.
In this case, it was flounder – apropos for a Lenten Friday night’s dinner. It’s also good for calorie counters too, and there are plenty of us out there. And it’s delicious enough to serve to company.
 I had a small piece of fennel in the fridge needing to be used, so I roasted some matchsticks of fennel too, drizzling them with a little olive oil, but leaving the grapes naked. I experimented with them, roasting some in clusters (yes), as individual grapes (yes), and cut in half (no, they burned).
The dish comes together in less than 15 minutes, assuming you’ve roasted the grapes ahead of time.
If you’re like me, you’ll be wondering what took you so long to try this easy and delicious way of using grapes. But now that I’ve tried them, I”ll be roasting grapes and eating them in dishes at meals any time of day.
To wit: My new favorite breakfast: lemon-flavored Greek yogurt with roasted grapes and hazelnuts.

 

Flounder with Roasted Grapes
printable recipe here

two pieces of flounder, about 1 lb. total
2 Tablespoons olive oil
flour, for dusting
salt, pepper
1/2 cup Prosecco, or dry white wine
1 Tablespoon butter
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon thyme leaves
a few clusters of seedless grapes

Roast the grapes in a parchment-lined (or Silpat-lined) cookie sheet in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes. I don’t add any oil or salt to the pan. Just grapes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Dry the pieces of flounder with a paper towel and dredge with flour on each side. Pat the pieces to remove excess flour. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the olive oil into a skillet and place over high heat. Gently place the pieces of flounder into the hot oil a few minutes until golden on one side. Flip over gently and let it cook on the second side for a couple of minutes on high heat, just enough to brown slightly. Then pour off any excess oil, and pour in the Prosecco or white wine. It should bubble all around the fish and reduce somewhat. Lower the heat, then add the butter and thyme leaves. Pour the lemon juice over the fish, then add the grapes and swish the pan a little to warm the grapes, taking care not to break up the fish pieces. (I also had roasted some fennel pieces with the grapes and added those at this point too). Serve immediately.

Lemony Fig Olive Oil Cake

Lemony Fig Olive Oil Cake

  I know, I know. I just posted a grilled fig pizza, but figs are still in the market for a short time, and for those of you with fig trees, you may be up to your ears in these sensuous beauties and looking for ways other than fig pizza or fig jam to make use of them. This lemony olive oil cake will not disappoint. It’s the best version of an olive oil cake I’ve ever eaten (caveat – it does contain butter also). If you don’t have figs, use other fruit, like peaches, plums or apricots — even apples.

It has a tender crumb, a delicious citrusy flavor (boosted by a lemon olive oil sent to me by Nudo) and it’s easy to prepare. A sprinkling of powdered sugar on top (and a stencil of a fig leaf is nice too) is all the decoration you need.
Pardon me while I get a little crazy on my “pop art” attempt.
 After making the cake, I wanted to see how that lemon olive oil would taste in a savory dish, without any cooking involved, but straight out of the tin.
So I grilled some grape tomatoes on one part of the grill, while on the other side, I placed some flounder on a piece of tin foil that had been smeared with regular olive oil, not the Nudo al limone. I splashed the flounder with a bit of white wine, then seasoned it with salt, pepper, slices of shallot, lemon slices and bits of fresh thyme. I closed the lid for five minutes and came back to a perfectly cooked piece of flounder. I plated it, strewing the tomatoes around the fish and finished it with a healthy drizzle of the Nudo olio d’oliva al limone. The fresh lemony flavor was evident in every bite and I think it’s the best possible use of this olive oil. The cake was delicious, don’t get me wrong. I plan to make it again and again. But with the lemon zest and citrus juice already in the cake recipe, I’m not sure the lemony olive oil really stands out. In this fish dish, however, the oil is a star.

Lemony Fig Olive Oil Cake
printable recipe here
adapted from Lottie and Doof blog, but originally from Chicago’s “Floriole” restaurant
amounts were given in grams, and I find that method of baking much more accurate. But I’ve converted the measurements for U.S. cooks who don’t have a scale.

  • 200 grams granulated sugar (a little less than 1 cup)
  • zest of 2 lemons (I used the zest of an orange because I had already zested the remaining lemon in the fridge for another recipe – either orange or lemon zest is great)
  • 100 grams melted butter (about 7 T. butter)
  • 200 grams olive oil (1 cup – I used the Nudo al limone brand olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 250 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • about 1-1 1/2 cups fruit (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches- whatever is in season!)
  • (I used figs cut into halves)
Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Butter and line the bottom of a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper.
Combine lemon zest and sugar in a bowl, rub zest into the sugar to release essential oils—set aside. Combine melted butter, olive oil and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Sift together flour and baking powder.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine eggs, sugar mixture and salt. Beat at high speed until very pale yellow in color and has about doubled in volume. You are looking for the batter to hold a “ribbon”. With mixer still running slowly add oil mixture to egg mixture. You are slowly emulsifying the oil into the egg mixture. If you do this properly the mixture will not break.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixture and fold in the dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix.
Pour about 2/3 of batter into bottom of the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle whatever fruit you are using on top. Cover with remaining batter and bake for approx. 35-40 minutes or until the cake is set. You can use a toothpick to test, it should come out clean. I like a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar on top.


 Filet of Flounder or Sole with Lemon Olive Oil
Place some cherry or grape tomatoes on an aluminum foil container on the grill, into which you’ve smeared a little olive oil. Cook at high heat until they burst open and/or caramelize. On another burner, on low heat, place another aluminum foil container, onto which you’ve smeared a little olive oil. Place the filet of sole or flounder on the oil. Splash with a little white wine. Then strew the fish with sliced shallot, slices of lemon, sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Close the lid on the grill and check back in five minutes. The fish should be done or nearly done. Remove to a place and scatter the tomatoes all around, then drizzle with the lemon-flavored olive oil.