Driving around town and seeing all the signs in front of restaurants advertising specials on fish for Lent reminds me of this great recipe. It is absolutely wonderful. I got it from Cook’s Illustrated.
Fish Meuniere with Browned Butter and Lemon
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 whitefish fillets, each 5/6 oz. and 3/8 inch thick, patted dry with paper towels (I use catfish, because it is economical, but sole or flounder would be great, too.)
2 T vegetable oil
2T unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
4 T unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 T chopped fresh parsley leaves (I leave this out)
1 1/2 T juice from 1 lemon, plus 1 lemon, cut in wedges for serving
For the fish: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set 4 heatproof dinner plates on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees. Place flour in large baking dish. Season both sides of each fillet generously with salt and pepper; let stand until fillets are glistening with moisture, about 5 minutes. Coat both sides of fillets with flour, shake off excess, and place in single layer on baking sheet. Heat 1 T. oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until shimmering, then add 1 T. butter and swirl to coat pan bottom; when foaming subsides, carefully place 2 fillets in skillet, bone-side down. (The “bone”side has rounded indentations running along the length of the fillet. The “skin”side of the fillet is darker and flatter.) Immediately reduce heat to meduim-high and cook, without moving fish, until edges of fillets are opaque and bottom is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using 2 spatulas, gently flip fillets and cook on second side until thickest part of fillet easily seperates in to flakes when toothpick is inserted, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer fillets, one to each heated dinner plate, keeping bone-side up, and return plates to oven. Wipe out skillet and repeeat with remaining 1 T each oil and butter and reamaining fish fillets.
For the browned butter: Heat butter in 10-inch skillet (I use a stainless steel skillet for this step.) over meduim-high heat until butter melts, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup slivered almonds to the pan. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly, until butter is golden grown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes; remove skillet from heat. Remove plates from oven and sprinkle fillets with parsley. Ad lemon juice to browned better and season to taste with salt; spoon sauce over fish and serve immediately with lemon wedges.
Don’t let the lengthy directions deter you from trying this dish. It is really wonderful. The only thing that I suggest is following the directions for timing and technique carefully. And, really try to get fillets that are the correct size. It will make all the difference. I would serve this with roasted asparagus, rice pilaf, a salad and some yummy bread. Bon Appetit!