I taught a cooking class tonight and one of the dishes I demonstrated for the group was sole fillets with lemon, garlic and parsley. As I seasoned the fish and prepared it for the saute pan, I found myself expounding aloud upon the merits of this simple white fish. It's just fantastic for so many reasons--yet so often overlooked. Flavorful seafood stars like Alaskan Salmon (which is quite overfished) and Tuna always seem to get all the attention, but sole (which is relatively sustainable) is a star in its own right for so many reasons. See below.
1. It freezes very well and will keep (wrapped tightly or in a vacuum-sealed package) for a long time, which makes it a wonderful ingredient to have on hand for impromptu entertaining as well as easy dinners at home.
2. It's CHEAP! Depending on where you shop, Petrale sole fillets are available for as little as $6 per pound.
3. Sole has a presence of flavor, but it's delicate enough that it will love whatever you dress it with. It's delicious simply pan-fried with a little olive oil and garlic, but will also stand up to bigger flavors, like mango-avocado salsa or lemon-caper sauce.
4. It's very low in fat and calories, which gives you some wiggle room in how you decadently you decide to prepare it. You might broil some sole fillets with lemon for a very healthy supper, but if you're craving a buttery sauce, sole is an ideal fish to make it with, since it contributes little in the fat/calorie department.
If you've never made sole before, start with this recipe:
4 medium sole fillets
1 tblsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
zest and juice of one lemon
2 tbsp Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Pat the fillets with a paper towel to absorb any liquid.
Sprinkle salt and pepper liberally on both sides of the fillets.
Heat the oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat.
Cook the garlic, parsley and lemon zest in the saute pan for 2-3 minutes, minding the garlic so as not to burn it.
Add the sole fillets, keeping space between them.
Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until the sole's flesh begins to flake.
Transfer from pan to plate using a spatula.
Garnish with more parsley and sliced lemon.