Ready in a mere 20 minutes, this sole meunière recipe highlights the fish's delicate texture and flavor without overpowering them.
The brown butter sauce is exquisite, and if you've never made it before, you'll be surprised to see how simple it is to make.
Sole is a mild fish with a delicate texture and flavor. So when you cook it, you definitely don't want to overwhelm it with lots of spices and ingredients.
That's why I love this simple, delicious sole meunière recipe that uses just a little butter and lemon to enhance the fish's naturally delicate flavor. It's very tasty, easy to make, and you can keep it low-carb and gluten-free if you use almond flour.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this pan-fried sole recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Sole fillets: I use skinless fillets. I normally buy them frozen and defrost them overnight in the fridge. You can definitely buy them fresh if you'd like.
To season: I use kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. The garlic powder is a departure from tradition, for sure, but I like the flavor it adds.
Flour: Just a dusting of flour is all it takes. Or you can use blanched almond flour instead and keep this recipe low-carb and gluten-free.
Clarified butter: Also known as ghee. It's the best option for pan-frying the fish. It tastes buttery but it doesn't burn as easily as butter, since the milk solids have been removed.
For the brown butter sauce: Butter and a little bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Parsley: Adds color to the finished dish but it also enhances its flavor, so I wouldn't skip it.
Making sole meunière is surprisingly easy, considering it's a restaurant-level dish. Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by seasoning the fish with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Next, dust both sides of each fillet with flour. Shake the excess off - you want the fish very thinly coated, so you don't want any excess flour.
Cook the fish in clarified butter until golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Start with medium-high heat, but if your pan starts overheating, you should lower it to medium after flipping the fish.
Keep the cooked fish in a warm oven while you prepare a simple sauce of brown butter and lemon.
Pour the sauce over the fish, garnish it with parsley, and serve.
Here are a few tips for making this recipe a success:
The most important thing is to avoid overcooking the fish, or it will turn out dry. I find that 2 minutes per side over medium-high heat is perfect. If I lower the heat to medium, I cook it for 3 minutes on the second side.
If using almond flour, you'll find that it doesn't adhere to the fish as well as all-purpose flour. It's still very tasty - and to me, it's worth it. But you should be aware of this issue.
Sole is a delicate fish that falls apart easily, especially if it's been frozen and thawed. Make sure you flip it very carefully, and if it does fall apart, don't despair - it will still taste exquisite.
Make sure you use a nonstick skillet to minimize the risk of sticking. This is especially true when using almond flour, which does tend to stick more than wheat flour does.
Frequently asked questions
The word "meunière" means "miller." The dish received this name because the fish is coated in flour before being cooked.
I usually love fish skin. But in this recipe, we use boneless skinless sole filets. The fish is cooked so quickly that the skin won't crisp up and will just be leathery.
I suppose you could, but it won't be as good and you'll run the risk of drying the fish out. I'm typically a big fan of baking, but this is such a quick stovetop recipe, that there's no advantage to using the oven.
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- If you can't procure sole, you can use flounder instead. In fact, in the photos and video here I used flounder.
- For the first stage of cooking the fish, you can use olive oil instead of ghee. However, I recommend using ghee for its wonderfully nutty flavor.
- Dried parsley can be used instead of fresh parsley, with somewhat inferior but acceptable results.
But truly, you can serve this dish with any side you like. It's a truly versatile dish that goes well with almost anything.
Leftovers keep okay in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to 3 days. But they are not as good as when freshly made.
Reheat the leftovers very gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power. I don't recommend freezing the leftovers.
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Easy Sole Meunière
- 2 (4-ounce) sole fillets skinless, boneless, patted dry (flounder works too)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup blanched almond flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 1 tablespoon clarified butter
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- Heat your oven on the “keep warm” setting (150 degrees F).
- Season both sides of the fish with kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of almond flour on each fillet, 1 tablespoon per side, and use your hand to gently spread to coat.
- In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the clarified butter. Swirl or brush to coat. Place the fish pieces in the skillet and cook them until just done, about 2 minutes per side. Lower the heat to medium in the pan overheats. Transfer the cooked fish to oven-safe plates and keep them in the warm oven.
- Carefully wipe the skillet clean with paper towels. Add the butter. Heat the butter over medium-high heat, swirling to melt. Cook until the butter starts to brown, about 1 minute, then immediately remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
- Remove the plates from the oven. Pour the butter-lemon sauce over the fish pieces and sprinkle them with parsley. Serve immediately.