Sole with beurre noisette

This is a perfect recipe to test out how the texture of butter can change your perception of what you eat. It comes from my book  Citrus and Spice A Year of Flavour (see Books).

The flavour of melted butter can be deepened by gently browning it to a golden brown. This creates a nutty toasted flavour.  If the butter is cooked until it is a darker brown, it takes on a more caramelised flavour.  The latter is known as black butter or beurre noir.   Fish is most succulent cooked on the bone, but if you donít like tackling bones, you can ask the fishmonger to fillet the fish.  

Serves 2

85g unsalted butter

2 x 450g Dover sole, skinned

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons plain flour

Ĺ lemon, cut into wedges

To make the clarified butter, place 55g butter in a small saucepan.   Set over a low heat and gently simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the melted butter throws up a thick white froth.   Strain through a very fine sieve or a sieve lined with damp muslin into a small bowl, discarding the froth and any milky liquid in the bottom of the saucepan as you do so. Clarified butter can be cooked at a higher temperature than normal melted butter.   Set aside until needed.

Cut off the heads of the fish and using kitchen scissors cut away the fan-like fins that run down each side and snip off their tails.   Season the flour in a large bowl.

Set a frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the butter.   Quickly dip each fish into the flour and shake off the excess.   Immediately add the fish to the sizzling hot butter and fry for about 4 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Remove to warm plates.

Place 30g cold butter in a small saucepan.   Set over a medium heat until it turns golden brown and smells of hazelnuts.   Immediately pour over the two fish.   Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.


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