Indulge in the flavors of France with this classic Sole Meunière recipe!

Renowned for its delicate balance of flavors, this delightfully simple dish features tender sole fillets lightly floured and sautéed to golden perfection, drizzled with an irresistible brown butter sauce, tart lemon, and fragrant parsley.

Dive in, and let’s embark on a culinary journey to create this timeless French delicacy in your kitchen!

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In this Article

What is Sole Meuniere?

Sole Meuniere is a classic French dish known for its simplicity and rich, buttery flavor.

The dish gets its name from “Meuniere,” which translates to “miller’s wife,” in reference to the flour used in the cooking process. 

The sole, a delicate and mild white fish, is lightly dusted with flour, then pan-fried in butter until it reaches a golden brown. It’s then served with a sauce made from browned butter, fresh lemon juice, and freshly chopped parsley.

This delightful combination of flavors makes Sole Meuniere a beloved classic in French cuisine.

What is Sole?

Sole is a lean, flat fish found primarily in the North Atlantic. It is renowned for its subtle, delicate fish flavor and tender, fine-textured flesh.

It doesn’t have the fishy taste associated with many seafood varieties but a mild, slightly sweet taste and light, flaky texture.

Its mildness makes it an excellent backdrop for various flavors, but it’s traditionally paired with simple, light seasonings to allow the fish’s natural flavor to shine.

Preparing sole is usually a straightforward process. It’s typically filleted due to its thin nature, then often dusted with flour to give it a slight crispness when cooked.

It can be pan-fried in butter or olive oil, baked, grilled, or used in various seafood stews and soups.

The key to cooking sole is to do so quickly to prevent it from drying out, as its lean flesh has little fat to keep it moist during cooking.

Sole meuniere on a white dish with lemon wedges

Ingredients needed to make this Sole Meuniere

Sole fillets – all the same size for even cooking.

Lemon – part of the base of the sauce for this dish.

Flour – for dredging

Unsalted butter – I always use unsalted butter in my cooking or baking to control the amount of sodium. Salted butter not only adds too much salt to your dish, but it changes the flavor.

Olive oil – used with butter to cook the sole.

Fresh parsley – chopped and pivotal in the recipe; do not skip it.

Sole Meuniere ingredients

Equipment needed

Chef’s knife

Dredging dish for the flour or plate

Large skillet

Fish spatula

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04/10/2024 09:25 pm GMT

Pro Tips

  • Ensure fresh sole fillets have a mild scent and no strong or fishy smell.
  • Prepare ingredients beforehand: Quick recipe. Avoid chopping parsley while cooking fish.
  • Keep your sole slightly damp as you want the flour to stick to it so it will create that beautiful crust during the cooking process.
  • Handle fillets gently: The sole is delicate and can easily fall apart.
  • Use a generous amount of butter: Key to rich, nutty flavor in Sole Meuniere.
  • Once your sole is in the skillet to cook, do not touch it to see if it is done. Shake the pan lightly, if it moves you can turn it over. Sole is delicate, and you want a crisp crust to form.

Cooking step-by-step instructions on how to prepare your sole meuniere

  • Cut the lemon in half. Save one half, squeeze out the juice of the other, and keep aside until ready to make the sauce.
  • Cut the saved half into four wedges to serve along with the fish filets when ready. Season the fillets lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge them in all-purpose flour and shake off any excess.
  • Heat 4 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the fish fillets.
  • Cook the first side and turn once until golden brown and fully cooked on the second side. Cooking time is about 5 minutes in total.
  • Transfer to warm plates and keep them warm.
  • Remove the cooking fat from the skillet.
  • Melt butter -lower the heat under the hot skillet and swirl in the remaining two tablespoons of butter. When the butter is melted but not foaming, add a squeeze of lemon juice of half lemon and the fresh parsley.
  • Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Spoon the sauce over the fillets and serve the lemon wedges alongside the fish.
Sole Meuniere close up with lemon wedge

What Other Fish Could You Use?

While Sole is the traditional choice for this recipe, several different fish varieties can be substituted if the sole isn’t readily available.

A good rule of thumb for substitutions is to choose a white, lean, and flaky fish.

  1. Flounder – Flounder makes an excellent substitution similar in flavor and texture to sole. It’s a lean, flat fish that is just as delicate and mild as a sole. 
  2. Halibut – Though a bit firmer and thicker than sole, halibut’s mild flavor and flaky texture make it a good choice for this recipe. Adjust cooking times as necessary due to their thickness.
  3. Tilapia – This commonly available freshwater fish has a slightly more robust flavor than sole but is still mild enough to work well in this recipe. Tilapia fillets are generally thin, so no adjustment to cooking times is required.

Remember, the key is to choose a fish that will complement the delicate flavors of the browned butter, lemon, and parsley sauce.

Substitutes

While the traditional Sole Meunière recipe is a classic favorite, you can easily modify it according to your taste or dietary preferences:

Substitutions:

  1. Almond Flour or Gluten-Free Flour – If you’re following a gluten-free diet, you can replace the regular flour with almond flour or any gluten-free flour variant. The result will be a slightly nuttier flavor.
  2. Ghee or Margarine – For those who are lactose intolerant or following a dairy-free diet, replace butter with ghee (clarified butter with lactose and other milk solids removed) or margarine.
  3. Lime – If lemons are not readily available, you can substitute them with limes for a similar citrusy tang.

Remember, the beauty of cooking lies in personalization, so feel free to experiment with flavors and other simple ingredients that suit your palate and dietary needs.

Sole Meuniere close up

Storage 

If you have leftover Sole Meunière, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The best flavor and quality should be consumed within 1-2 days. Reheat gently in a pan over low heat to avoid overcooking the fish.

Freezing is not typically recommended for this dish. The delicate texture of the sole can become mushy upon thawing, and the butter-based sauce may separate and lose its creamy consistency.

The sauce for Sole Meunière can be made ahead to save time. Prepare the sauce as directed, allow it to cool, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, gently reheat the sauce while you cook the fish.

Ideal for busy weeknights or when entertaining guests, making the sauce ahead allows you to serve a delicious, gourmet meal with minimal last-minute preparation.

Sole Meuniere

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use dried parsley instead of fresh parsley?

While fresh parsley adds a distinctive freshness and color to the dish, you can substitute it with dried ones if fresh isn’t readily available. Use a third of the amount when substituting dried for fresh, as dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor.

Can I cook the fish in advance and reheat it later?

It’s not recommended to cook the fish in advance, as reheating may lead to overcooking and a tough texture. It’s best to serve Sole Meunière immediately after cooking to enjoy its light, flaky texture and fresh, buttery flavors.

How do I know when the sole fillets are cooked?

Sole fillets are usually cooked when they turn opaque and flaky. The flesh will be white and should easily flake apart with a fork. Overcooking can result in a dry and tough texture, so removing the fillets from heat is best as soon as they’re done.

Can I use frozen sole fillets?

Yes, frozen sole fillets can be used for this recipe. However, thoroughly thaw the fillets completely and pat them dry before cooking. Keep in mind that fresh fillets are usually more flavorful and tender.

Can I make this recipe if I don’t have a skillet?

Yes, if you don’t have a skillet, you can use any pan that can withstand high heat. Just make sure it’s big enough to fit the fillets comfortably without overcrowding, which can lead to steaming rather than browning.

Sole Meuniere in a white plate surrounded by blue tablecloth and silverware

Sole Meuniere

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 4 people
This delightfully simple dish features tender sole fillets lightly floured and sautéed to golden perfection, drizzled with an irresistible brown butter sauce, tart lemon, and fragrant parsley.

Ingredients 

  • 4 sole fillets
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

LEMON PREPARATION

  • Cut the lemon in half. Save one half, squeeze out the juice of the other and keep aside until ready to make the sauce.

COOKING YOUR SOLE

  • Dredge the sole in the flour and shake off any excess.
  • Heat 4 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the fillets.
  • Cook turning once, until golden brown and fully cooked. About 5 minutes total. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to the dinner plates and keep warm.
  • Remove the cooking grease from the skillet and wipe clean.
  • Lower the heat under the skillet and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is melted, but not foaming, add the juice of the half lemon and the fresh parley.
  • Remove from the heat. Spoon the sauce over the fillets and serve the lemon wedge alongside the fish.

Notes

Pro Tips

  • Ensure fresh sole fillets have a mild scent and no strong or fishy smell.
  • Prepare ingredients beforehand: Quick recipe. Avoid chopping parsley while cooking fish.
  • Keep your sole slightly damp as you want the flour to stick to it so it will create that beautiful crust during the cooking process.
  • Handle fillets gently: The delicate sole can easily fall apart.
  • The use of a generous amount of butter is key to achieving the rich, nutty flavor in Sole Meuniere. Don’t be shy with it!
  • Once your sole is in the skillet to cook, do not touch it to see if it is done. Shake the pan lightly; you can turn it over if it moves. Sole is delicate, and you want a crisp crust to form.

Nutrition

Calories: 851kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 112g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 450mg | Sodium: 733mg | Potassium: 1493mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 996IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 204mg | Iron: 2mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

Did you make this?

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