April 9, 2014

RECIPE | Fish à la Meunière

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Active time: 15 minutes

Inactive time: none

At the highest level, French cuisine is known for complexity and technical difficulty. Many French classics such as Coq au Vin or Tarte Tatin are actually quite simple to make. Sole Meunière or any Fish à la Meunière, is delicious as a result of its rustic preparation. Beyond the requisite salt and pepper, there are only five ingredients: Fish, flour, butter, lemon and parsley. With such basic ingredients, the success of the meunière comes down to a bit of technique and timing.

A common white fish will work for this recipe. Fillets of tilapia or swai – finer fleshed fish – are thinner and will generally be easier to cook without flaking apart or overcooking the way a thick piece of cod might. With bags of individually packed frozen fish in stores everywhere, it’s easy to to cook up dinner in 15 minutes.

Ingredients (makes two servings)

2-4 fillets of fish or 6-8 oz of fish per serving

½ cup of flour

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 stick of butter (8 tbsp, but you won’t need it all)

1 lemon

1 tbsp chopped parsley


1. Dry off the fish fillets with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Spread the flour over a large plate and lay down all the fillets.

2. Start heating a non-stick pan over medium heat. Heat the oil until it’s hot.Then add 2 tbsp of butter. Swirl to combine.

3. Start dredging the fish with flour. This can’t be done too far in advance or the flour will hydrate and form a gummy coating around the fish. As soon as a fillet is dredged, lightly lay it down onto the pan.

4. Once your fish is in the pan, it’s all about the timing. Let the fillets sit to develop a nice crust. Keep the heat moderate to avoid burning the flour or  butter. As soon as the first side is golden, flip it over.

5. Once both sides of the fish are golden and the flesh is firm, remove the fillets to your serving plates. Pour off the hot oil left in the pan into another vessel for disposal later and wipe the pan clean with a paper towel.

6. In your clean pan, gently heat 4 tbsp of butter. Roll the lemon on the cutting board, slice it and juice it. Then, chop the parsley. As soon as the butter starts to lightly brown, remove it from the heat and add the parsley and lemon juice, taking care to avoid adding the seeds. Swirl to combine.

7. Pour the sauce over your fish fillets. Serve with simply boiled potatoes or a light salad.