Pan-Seared Sole with Sautéed Chanterelles

by Joseph Erdos
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solechanterelleOftentimes simplicity is the answer to most everything. Simple recipes with ingredients cooked in an unadulterated way yield very flavorful and inspiring results. For me that's always the case when cooking fish. Here I'm always reminded of the story of Julia Child's culinary revelation, when she is presented with a sole Meunière at a restaurant where she and Paul are dining after arriving in France. Most of us has read about this or has seen it in the movie Julie and Julia. Can it be so simple that a dish of sautéed fish with butter sauce inspired her to cook? Yes!

Here is my take on that sole dish but served with woodland mushrooms. On a recent Greenmarket trip I purchased a handful of beautiful chanterelles from Honey Hollow Farm, which forages its mushrooms from the wild in Middleburgh, N.Y. These mushrooms are one of the more pricey varieties, but their delicate flavor is worth it. That flavor is best maintained with simple cooking methods. That's why I sauté them in butter. Pair them with a seared mild fish such as sole along with a buttery sauce and it makes for a very nice meal. I bet Julia would have loved this dish for dinner any day of the week.

 Chanterelles are among the most popular wild mushrooms in the world. They can be found throughout Europe, especially in France, as well as North America. Here on the east coast they are available all summer long. You won't find them in supermarkets, so look for them in farmers' markets. They're golden in color, like egg yolks, and they smell slightly of peaches. Stay away from ones that have brown bruises or are slimy. After buying them, store in a paper bag in the refrigerator. Once ready to cook them, clean with a soft nylon brush. If you can't find chanterelles, oyster mushrooms are a good substitute.

Pan-Seared Sole with Sautéed Chanterelles and Frizzled Parsley-Butter Sauce

for the sautéed mushrooms:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

for the pan-seared fish:
2 6-ounce sole fillet pieces
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil

for the sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
lemon wedge

For the mushrooms, warm butter and oil in a sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until their liquid releases and evaporates, about 5 minutes.

To prepare the fish, liberally season sole pieces with salt and pepper. Warm oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add fish and sear 2 minutes per side. Use a long flexible spatula to remove fillets to two plates. Top with mushrooms.

Wipe out pan and return to medium heat. Add butter and melt. Just after the foam subsides and before it starts to brown, add parsley and let it sizzle. Squeeze a few drops of lemon into the butter. Drizzle the sauce over the plates of fish and mushrooms. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 servings.

Joseph Erdos is a New York–based writer and editor, butabove all a gastronomer and oenophile. He shares his passion for foodon his blog, Gastronomer's Guide , which features unique recipes and restaurant reviews among many other musings on the all-encompassing topic of food.

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