Barbara Kafka

Filets of Sole for Two

(First recipe in a new quick and healthy series. See homepage for details.) 

No, I don’t mean expensive English sole but rather another of the flat fish with their eyes eerily on one side, the bottom feeders in the sole and flounder families. The best are usually: gray sole, lemon sole and petrale sole. The dish is best served in rim soup plates with a large spoon. Start the rice before doing anything else.

Sole fillets can run any where from two ounces—very small—to ten ounces—very large.

4 fillet of sole, about 6 ounces each, fewer if heavier, more if lighter 

A small handful of fresh tarragon leaves

3 shallots

½ cup finely chopped parsley

1 cup light white wine—left-over is fine—Pinot Grigio, Alsatian (mildly sweet is fine) or Sauvignon Blanc  

Kosher salt to taste

Pepper to taste


Pick up each fillet of sole and pull the two halves apart at the line that runs down the center. Pull off any heavy membrane at the center. Roll up each half fillet starting at the thick end with the smooth, skin side, out. End by wrapping the pointy end around the outside. 

If using the microwave oven, arrange non-touching in the smallest dish that will hold them. I often use an oval glass dish. If cooking on top of the stove, put in a sauté pan just large enough to hold them without touching. Peel the shallots and slice thinly. Sprinkle shallots, tarragon leaves and parsley over and around the fish. Gently pour in the wine.

If using the microwave, cover the dish with plastic wrap sealing it tightly to the sides. Cook in the microwave for 4 minutes. The plastic will swell—swell. Turn off oven and prick wrap with the tip of a sharp knife. Unwrap.

If using the stove top, place the pan on top and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover. Let simmer until all of the fish rolls have turned white about 7 to 8 minutes.

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the rice that was started before the preparation and cooking.

Give each eater some drained rice and half of the rolled filets. Share out the liquid sauce. Dinner is ready. A glass of the wine if it is fresh and cold is a good accompaniment as is a quickly dressed green salad of which more next week.

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