Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fillets Of Sole Bonne Femme for #WeekdaySupper

What do you think of when it comes to French cuisine? Frog legs? Escargot? Croissants? Or copious amounts of wine and cheese? A lot of people shy away from making French food at home because so much of it is a complex, multi-layered or lengthy process to make. But while I won't argue with a dish of decadent Coq au Vin or a lovingly crafted, slow-rising baguette, our favourite dishes from that country are neither pretentious, complicated or overly expensive to create at home. One of them, of course, is a staple of our Summer harvest - ratatouille. This one tends to come to the table in the colder weather, especially around the holidays in December, and it's one of those "perfect" entertaining dishes because it only takes minutes to whip together, is rich and indulgent and looks fancy!

Called Fillet Of Sole Bonne Femme, we actually found this decadent meal in the pages of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. And really, how can you go wrong with Julia Child? The basic idea is that fillets of sole (you could use haddock, cod or orange roughy too) gets oven-poached in a mixture of wine, fish stock and mushrooms, then blanketed in a cream and Gruyere (or Swiss) cheese sauce and broiled. It's also a good "entry level" fish dish for those who aren't too sure if they like it, because sole is very mild in flavour and is almost always tender. Every time we've served it to mixed adult / child groups, we've never heard a complaint from either age range!

Fillet Of Sole Bonne FemmeWe tend to serve this for company (to limit our butter and cream consumption), but given that it is so simple to whip up, uses ingredients you can find almost anywhere and actually does store well (it is delicious cold on toasted French bread), its a fish and mushroom dish you could make on a weeknight without a second thought! If you choose to reheat it though, do it gently in a covered dish so the mixture doesn't dry out and get gummy.

For my #WeekdaySupper selection!

Sunday Supper Movement

Check out the other #WeekdaySuppers below:

Monday – Paula/Vintage Kitchen - Apple Brown Rice Salad with Pomegranate and Pistachios
Tuesday – Bea/The Not So Cheesy Kitchen – Potato Leek Soup with Little Bites {Sausage}
Wednesday – Diana/Gourmet Drizzles – California Chicken with Mediterranean Pilaf
Thursday – Sarah/What Smells So Good? – Sole Bonne Femme
Friday – Nicole/Daily Dish Recipes – Fish Tacos with Baja Cream Sauce

Fillets Of Sole Bonne Femme
Serves 10
2 tbsp salted butter
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 lb oyster mushrooms, roughly torn
1 leek, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 1/2 lbs sole fillets
3/4 cup cold fish stock (or 1/2 cup water + 1/4 cup clam juice)
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp salted butter
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and white pepper to taste
Lemon juice
1/4 cup finely grated Gruyère cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large, enameled cast iron Duch oven, melt the butter and cook the mushrooms and leek for two minutes (don't let them brown). Pour into a bowl and season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  3. Season the filets lightly and arrange them in one (somewhat overlapping) layer in the Dutch oven.
  4. Spread the mushroom mixture overtop.
  5. Pour in the cold fish stock, wine and enough water so fish is barely covered.
  6. Place over low heat and bring almost to a simmer.
  7. Lay a piece of wax paper over the fish and place the Dutch oven in bottom third of the oven. Cook for 8 to 12 minutes, until a fork pierces the flesh easily. (Do not overcook: the fish should not be dry and super-flaky).
  8. Place a cover over the dish and drain out all the cooking liquid into a saucepan.
  9. Place over high heat and boil until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup.
  10. Off the heat, beat the flour with the butter to form a paste.
  11. Beat this paste into the hot liquid off the heat, then whisk in 2/3 cup of the cream.
  12. Bring to a boil.
  13. Slowly add remaining cream, whisking, and cook just until it coats the spoon.
  14. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and drops of lemon juice.
  15. Spoon the sauce over the fish in the Dutch oven and sprinkle with cheese.
  16. Place dish under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to reheat fish and brown top of sauce lightly. Serve as soon as possible with slices of lemon.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 282.6
Total Fat: 16.9 g
Cholesterol: 105.3 mg
Sodium: 208.2 mg
Total Carbs: 5.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
Protein: 24.2 g 

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