6 skinless, boneless sole or other thin fish fillets (Dover sole, grey sole, flounder, whiting or trout are all possibilities)

salt and freshly ground white pepper

½ cup or so white flour on a plate

about 4 tablespoons clarified butter (melt the butter and pour the clear yellow liquid off the residue)

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 lemon, cut into wedges



1. Rinse the fish under cold tap water, dry it and remove any bones. The “skin side” of a fillet is milky looking and sometimes has brown spots, while the side that was next to the bone, the “best side,” is better looking and preferable for serving. To prevent your fillets from curling while cooking, score the skin side with diagonal cuts 1 inch apart and less than 1/16 inch deep. Then lay the flat of your big knife on the fillet and give it one firm punch with your fist to flatten it. As they are prepared, lay the fillets out on a sheet of waxed paper. (If you can’t proceed immediately, lay a pastry sheet out under the waxed paper, cover the fish and refrigerate it.}

2. Dust the fillets lightly on each side with salt and pepper. The moment before sauteing, rapidly drop each into the flour to coat both sides, and shake off the excess. Set a nonstick frying pan over high heat and film with 1/16 inch of clarified butter. When the butter is very hot but not browning, rapidly lay in as many fillets as will fit easily, leaving a little space between each. Saute a minute or two on one side, turn carefully so as not to break the fillet, and saute a minute or two on the other side. The fish is done when just springy rather than squashy to the touch of of your finger. Immediately remove from the pan to warm plates or a platter. (If you are sautéing in two batches, keep the first warm for a few minutes in a 200* oven.)

3. Sprinkle each fillet with parsley. Wipe the frying pan clean, set over high heat and add the fresh butter. Heat until bubbling and pour over the fillets – the parsley will sizzle nicely. Decorate with lemon wedges and serve immediately.


adapted from Julia Child, The Way to Cook

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