The sole of OCI’s French country dinner

Sole in a mustard sauce.  Just out of the oven and ready to serve.

This entree, sole in a mustard sauce, features a little used member of the marine fishes–sole.  At the October Country Inn, we’ve tried this particular dish with many different varieties of sole, as well as with similar fish (tilapia, haddock, flounder).  Our favorite is grey sole (east coast).  A close second is dover sole (west coast).  Sometimes neither of these fish are available and you just have to settle for what is available.

A word about fish in general–fresh is best.  The closer in time the fish on your plate is to when it was swimming in the ocean, the fresher it is.    When buying fresh fish, give it the smell test.  If it doesn’t smell like fish, it’s as fresh as you’ll find.  However, we think that frozen grey sole is preferable to fresh tilapia, for example.

Sole fillets placed in overlapping rows.

The following recipe serves 4 persons.  To serve more, increase the ingredients by multiples of 4.  For 8 people, for example, multiply the sauce ingredients (shallots, wine, cream, and mustard) by 2, and so on.   For the fish, multiply the number of persons by 5.5 ounce per person, divide by 16 to get the number of pounds, and round up to the nearest half pound.

 

The ingredients are:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of 2 to 6 ounce fillets of sole
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 or 2 minced shallots
  • 3 1/2 ounces of dry white wine
  • 7 ounces of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of Grey Poupon mustard
  • 6 sliced scallions, including tops
  • salt and pepper

We mince the shallots with a small food processor like this one.

The trickiest part of preparing this dish is the sauce.  You have to pay attention to this step.  Place the  minced shallots and wine in a saucepan and gently boil off wine until there’s no free standing liquid left.  Add the cream and mustard and bring to a slow boil.  Stir frequently.  The shallots tend to settle out and they will easily burn if not frequently stirred.  Add salt and pepper, and boil until sauce is thick, about 15 to 25 minutes.  Set thickened sauce aside to cool.  It will thicken more.

The wine has evaporated and you’re ready to add the cream/mustard mix.

Place sole fillets in an overlapping row in a pyrex casserole.  Add salt, pepper, melted butter, and lemon juice.  Place the thickened sauce in a wide row down the center of the sole fillets.  Place in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.  Check frequently.  It is done when a fork easily penetrates (you don’t feel resistance) a thick portion of the fish.

Remove from oven, garnish with scallion slices and serve.  It will delight.