Pan-fried Dover Sole and Fricassee of Shellfish with Herb Jus
Sole fillets are sauteed to golden brown in butter, then served with a fricassee of shellfish which includes zucchini, spinach, and tomatoes. The fricassee cooks very quickly, so the dish can be prepared quite fast. Chef Blanc buys fresh sole one day ahead and ages it overnight in the refrigerator. He buys all the different types of fresh shellfish he can find for the fricassee. What you find locally will vary slightly. We suggest cooking the sole individually in the pan, as the chef does, rather than cooking all four fillets in one pan at the same time; the directions reflect this. The chef warns that oysters cook very quickly; if oysters are among the shellfish you purchase, add them at the very end, with the scallop slices.
- Sole - 4 fillets (8 oz), deboned
- Clarified Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Fine salt (preferably Fleur de Sel) - To taste
- Freshly ground white pepper - To taste
- Lemon thyme - 2 teaspoons, chopped
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons)
- Lemon Juice - Juice of 2 lemons
- Shellfish Fricassee
- Olive Oil - 1/2 cup
- Baby Zucchini - 8, sliced in thin rounds
- Shallots - 3, minced
- Dry white wine - 2 cups, boiled for 1 minute
- Mussels - 1 pound fresh, washed and debearded
- Clams - 1-1/2 pounds fresh, washed
- Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped and crushed
- Lemon Juice - Juice of 1 lemon
- Coriander - 2 sprigs, minced
- Chives - 10 to 12, minced
- Baby Spinach - 2 cups leaves, stems trimmed short
- Water - 1/4 cup
- Scallops - 8 jumbo, cleaned
- Tomato - 3 large, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
To prepare the sole: Place a fillet skin-side down on a work surface. With a sharp knife, slit the sole down the center just to the bone, from the wide end to the tail. Place the knife on its side and run it parallel to the bone, with the blade running on the bone, outward from the slit toward the outside edge of the bone, opening up the flesh. Do not cut through the last half inch of meat at the edge. Repeat on the other side of the bone. Open the sole and loosen the bone, running the knife under it in each direction. Lift the bone free of the flesh in one piece, cut across the bottom with kitchen shears, and remove. Repeat with the remaining fillets. Brush the inside of each with clarified butter and sprinkle with Fleur de Sel or fine salt and thyme. Close the sides of the fillet back together. Pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 250 F. In a medium saute pan or skillet large enough to hold one fillet, melt one fourth of the butter over medium-high heat. Control the heat carefully to let the solids in the butter begin to brown, but not burn; remove the pan from the heat and let it cool a little if it becomes too hot. When the butter solids have reached a “blond” color and the heat level has been established, place a sole fillet into the pan, cut-side down. Cook about 11 minutes total, turning the fillet over half way through the cooking; spoon hot butter over it after turning. Repeat this procedure with each fillet. Cook all four at once in separate saute pans, or cook two, then hold them in a 250 F oven while you cook the remaining two. Return the fillets held in the oven to the burner on medium-high heat for 15 to 20 seconds before serving. Just before serving, squeeze lemon juice over the fillets, then spoon the lemon-butter from the pan over the fish.
To prepare the fricassee: Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the zucchini and shallots, toss to coat, cover, and cook for 1 minute. Add the boiled wine and stir to bring up any browned bits. Add the mussels, clams, and garlic and cover. Cook 40 seconds, until the shellfish just begin to open. Remove the cover and add the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, coriander, chives, and baby spinach. Add the water and stir together. Cover and cook for 30 seconds, or until just wilted. Slice the jumbo scallops into thin strips and place on top of the mixture. Cook 30 seconds. Adjust taste with olive oil and lemon juice and add the diced tomatoes. Remove from heat.
To serve: Place a fillet in the center of each warmed serving plate. Spoon the fricassee around the fish. Pour the fish pan juices around the edges and over the fish.