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Sole in Parchment

Now that spring is here in the U.S., summer is not far away, and of course, that means swimsuit weather. If you’ve gained a few too many pounds during the Covid pandemic, here’s a recipe that will help trim some of that expanding waistline. Not only does it taste delicious, it’s a snap to prepare ahead of time, making it an ideal dinner for company. Just pop it in the oven while you sit down for drinks and a chat, and in 15 minutes, you’re ready to eat.  Start by cutting out pieces of parchment paper in the shape of a heart — a large heart. Slice the vegetables into julienne strips, and toss with some olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs. In this case, I used leeks, zucchini, carrots, red pepper and cherry tomatoes cut in half, tossed in olive oil, with salt, pepper and minced parsley. But use whatever floats your boat. Just make sure you slice everything into uniform strips.

Season the fish with salt and white pepper, then dab some butter on top.

Layer a couple of slices of lemon over the buttered fish, then scatter some herbs on top. I used more parsley plus some fresh thyme.

Seal the packets by crimping all along the sides, starting with a fold at one end and continuing all the way around.

Here’s what they should look like after they’re completely crimped. Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes if you’re cooking thin pieces of sole, like mine were.

They come out of the oven a slight beige color.

Serve directly on each person’s plate, with some rice on the side. Entertaining and eating a healthy meal was never so easy!

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Sole in Parchment
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • filet of sole or flounder - 2 pieces or about 6 ounces per person
  • vegetables, julienned (carrots, red or green peppers, zucchini, leeks, etc. - whatever you like)
  • olive oil to mix with the vegetables
  • salt, pepper
  • parsley, thyme
  • butter
  • lemon slices
Instructions
  1. Julienne the vegetables thinly and mix with the olive oil, salt, pepperr and parsley in a bowl.
  2. Place a portion of the vegetables in the parchment paper and put fish on top.
  3. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper and top with a dab or two of butter, then with a couple of lemon slices.
  4. Crimp edges of the parchment paper, starting at one end and going around to the other end.
  5. Finish crimping and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.
 

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.

Fillet of Sole Stuffed With Shrimp

It’s Spring, it’s Spring. Finally, it’s Spring. OK, it’s drizzly and grey and ugly this morning here in central N.J., but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Daffodils, warmer weather and lighter dinner fare are a few of the things that come to mind when I think of Spring. Not to mention bathing suit season will be here before you know it. So with that horrid thought in mind, it’s time for me to start thinking lighter dinner fare, in particular seafood. While I was cruising the fish department at the supermarket the other day, the sole looked particularly fresh. I bought three pieces that weighed slightly less than 3/4 pound, more than enough for the two of us, especially considering they were stuffed with a shrimp and bread filling.

This would make a good recipe for company too, since it could easily be assembled ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator until ready to bake in the oven. Just adjust the amounts of ingredients according to the number of guests.

Fillet of Sole stuffed with shrimp

3 sole fillets – total weight about 3/4 pound
3 large shrimp
1 shallot
1 T. butter
3 T. roasted red, yellow or green pepper, chopped
a splash of dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs
salt, pepper
2 T. chopped parsley

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 T. butter
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
paprika

Pat dry the sole fillets and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the butter in a pan and saute the shallot and celery until limp. Add the chopped pepper and shrimp and saute a few more minutes over medium heat. Add the splash of white wine and cook for another minute or so. Take the pan off the heat and add the bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix everything together. It should hold together loosely in a ball. To make the bread crumbs, I trimmed the crusts from three slices of stale Italian bread and put them in the food processor for a couple of minutes. You can use purchased bread crumbs if you prefer, but the texture will be different.
Place a handful of stuffing over the center of the fish fillet.


Roll up both ends over the stuffing.

Place the folded side down in a buttered casserole. Pour the 1/2 cup wine around the rolled-up fillets.
Melt the 1 T. butter in a saucepan and add the panko crumbs. Divide the panko mixture over the fish and sprinkle with paprika. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.