Meunière (pronounced /mɜrniˈɛər/ (UK) or /mʌnˈjɛər/ (US), original French [mønjɛːʁ]) refers to both a sauce and a method of preparation. The word itself means “female miller”. Thus to cook something à la meunière was to cook it by first dredging it in flour. A meunière sauce is a simple preparation — brown butter, chopped parsley, and lemon — and the name refers to its unelaborate rustic nature.
So that’s wikipedia’s explanation. My explanation is meuniere = buttery deliciousnessness. Although I’m pretty sure that’s redundant, as how can you have butter and not have deliciousness? And what does “female miller” even mean?
Anyway, fresh dover sole was on sale last week at Central Market so I decided to pick it up, and figure out a recipe based on the ingredients I had at home. Cream? check. Butter? check. Flour? check.
And this recipe was easy enough. Honestly, I’m not sure sole is my favorite fish, but I would definitely recreate this recipe again with any other firm white fish.
Sole Meunière (adapted from Food & Wine)
2 teaspoons ground fennel
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dry white wine
Four 6-ounce sole fillets
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a shallow bowl, combine the heavy cream and white wine. Dip the sole fillets in the cream, then dredge them in a separate shallow bowl that has the whisked flour, salt & pepper and ground fennel.
In each of 2 large skillets, heat 1 tablespoon each of the canola and olive oils until they are shimmering. Add 2 sole fillets to each skillet and cook the fish fillets over high heat until they are golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn the fillets and cook until golden brown on the outside and white throughout, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer the fish fillets to plates.
Wipe out 1 skillet and add the butter. Cook over moderate heat, shaking the skillet often, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the capers and shake the pan, then add the vinegar. Spoon the browned butter sauce over the fish, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.