Oct 25, 2010

Spooky Sole : Pan-Fried Lemon Sole Fillets with Salsa Verde

Don’t let the ingredients for the salsa verde scare you – it’s a refreshing and versatile sauce that really compliments the fried fish with lemon. If you’re not a fan of anchovies, don’t worry. They don’t overpower the salsa, but if you’re really freaked out and would avoid the dish altogether, leave them out – the herbs would suffice. The salsa verde is easy enough to put together in a small blender; it can even be made a day earlier and put in the fridge until you’re ready to make the fish. Sole is thin and fries quickly with a little flour coating so have your side dishes nearly ready before you begin the fish to avoid a cold fillet.  

The recipe (which can be found here) serves the fish with boiled potatoes and steamed broccoli - we served ours with different sides. Monica made small potatoes and sautéed spinach; Caitlin made a single layer potato cake and sautéed Kale. You can make the sides from the original recipe, try ours or use whatever veggies are in season at your local market. If you’re trying something different, leave a comment and let us know what you used and how it tasted!

We also tried using different pickles for the salsa, to see which kind complimented the other flavors. Caitlin used sweet mini pickles, and Monica used small dills, or cornichons. Both tasted great and complimented the other herbs and lemon fish. Your choice will depend on what suits your taste: slightly sweeter or slightly tart.

If you’re not accustomed to buying anchovies, make sure they’re boneless – picking out the bones in a tiny fish is a tedious job that can be easily avoided.

Overall, this recipe is extremely easy and delicious – a creative twist to salsa verde that we’ll absolutely make again.

Caitlin: I thought this was a creative and tasty version of salsa verde; one that I hadn’t had before. I have to admit, I was a little nervous when I looked at the ingredient list – anchovies and sweet pickles are not a flavor combination I’m used to, but I decided to give it a go and I’m glad I did. Blending the sweet pickles with the salty anchovies complimented all of the fresh herbs nicely – it was a refreshing and tasty topping to the lemon pan-fried sole. I decided to serve mine with a flattened potato cake similar to the one we made last week, but without horseradish and only one layer of potatoes. It provided a nice crunchy layer underneath the fish that went well with the salsa verde. 
I also sautéed some Kale in lemon juice for my veg on the side - it all went really well together. 

Monica: Sometimes it helps to read the recipe twice. I seemed to have skipped over the part of the recipe where it calls for flour – needless to say my sole fillets were a bit difficult to flip and were very close to flaking apart.  Thankfully, everything seemed to work out in the end and I was able to pan-fry a tasty batch of lemon sole fillets.
This recipe is easy and light (especially since I omitted the flour).  I didn’t stray from the overall recipe too much, however, I substituted basil for arugula when making the salsa verde.  I like the peppery taste of arugula and it seemed like a good substitution.  The salsa verde had all the right amounts of herbs, salt and acidity; it definitely complimented the fish. I chose to serve my dish with “teeny tiny potatoes” (that’s what they were called; they taste very similar to baby dutch potatoes) and sautéed spinach.  I would definitely recommend making it when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen, yet you are looking for something satisfying.  I think a nice variation to the dish would be to grill the sole and top with the salsa verde.  Also, an extra squeeze of lemon before serving is always a good thing.

Ingredient List                                          
For the Salsa Verde
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp of capers
3 or 4 small whole pickles, chopped
5 boneless anchovy fillets
Handful of flat leaf parsely
Handful of basil
Handful of mint
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 ½  tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

4 sole fillets
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 lemon

Make the salsa verde. Combine all of the ingredients, except the olive oil and s&p, and blend in a small blender. Once combined, stir in the olive oil to loosen. Add salt and pepper to taste.
If you don’t want to use a blender, you can finely chop all of the ingredients and hand mix. When done, cover and set aside. If making in advance, place in the fridge until ready to use.

Put about ½ cup of flour in a bowl. Take your sole fillets, sprinkle with salt and pepper then put them in the bowl, one at a time and turn over until lightly coated.

Heat oil in a pan then add the fillets. Cook for about 2 minutes then add the butter, turn them over and cook for another 2 minutes. When the fillets are golden on both sides, turn the heat off. Wait about 30 seconds then add the lemon juice and shake the pan to coat. Be careful though, if the pan is too hot the lemon juice will burn black and ruin the fish.

Divide the fish fillets between plates, top with the salsa verde, add your side dishes and serve!

If anchovies are not in your favorite foods repertoire, you can leave them out. Just be sure to add a little more salt.

Basil can be substituted by arugula.

The fish can be grilled instead of pan-fried, but make sure you get a thicker cut of fish (sole might be a little too thin).

This would make a nice po-boy style sandwich – the fried fish, salsa verde, a little lettuce and a long crusty bun, yum!

Drink of Choice

Caitlin: Because I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to like salsa verde, I decided to drink something neutral just in case I needed a palate refresher - a nice cold Fresca hit the spot.
Monica: I was craving something refreshing to go with the fresh herbs in the salsa verde, so I opted for an unsweetened Passion Fruit Iced Tea.

Caitlin: I was in a Motown kind of mood when I made this. I sang along to Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. 
Monica: The dish was quick to prepare, and inspired me to listen to songs that were for the most part, upbeat:
1)   Hand in Glove – The Smiths
2)   Love Street – The Doors
3)   Can I Get A Witness – Marvin Gaye
4)   Ode to L.A. – The Raveonettes

5)   Radio Clash – The Clash

A Recipe to Remember?
Yes, the dish was easy and tasty – will definitely make again.
Caitlin's Version
Monica's Version

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