Fish Meuniere with Brown Butter and Lemon

In the movie “Julie and Julia,” when Julia Child first arrives in France, the very first dish she orders in the first restaurant she eats at was this dish. She also mentions it is her autobiograpy, My Life in France. Our son, James makes this to perfection although he is not a fish eater. Somehow he always manages to cook the fish perfectly. He says it’s all in the touch. Here are some photos of James cooking when he was younger, growing up as a Foodie and ultimately becoming a Chef.

James and Elfrieda
James (27 years old) with his Nana, Laura’s Mom, Elfrieda. By the way, at his Nana’s request he made a, gourmet, four course dinner for 50.
James and Mom
James (23 years old) and Laura. He was catering a birthday dinner and Laura had to jump in as server.


James at grill
James (8 years old) at the grill at our house in Northborough MA.










James and Dad cooking
James (13 years old) and Jim cooking on our deck in Santa Barbara


Author: James R. Kirkley, IV

Serves: 4

Fish Meuniere with Browned Butter and Lemon


1/2 cup, unbleached all-purpose flour
4 fillets, Sole or Tilapia (5 to 6 ounces each and only 3/8 inch thick) – patted dry with paper towels
salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons, avocado oil (preferred) – or peanut or canola oil
2 tablespoons, unsalted butter – cut into 2 pieces

4 tablespoons, unsalted butter – cut into 4 pieces
1 tablespoon, fresh parsley leaves – chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons, fresh lemon juice
1 lemon – cut into wedges


  2. Adjust rack to the lower-middle position of oven. Set 4 heatproof dinner plates on the rack, and heat the oven to 200 degrees.
  3. Place the flour in a large baking dish.
  4. Season both sides of each fillet generously with salt and pepper: let stand until the fillets are glistening with moisture about 5 minutes. Coat each side of the fillet with flour, shake off the excess, and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until shimmering; add 1 tablespoon of the butter and swirl to coat the pan bottom.
  6. When the foaming subsides, carefully place 2 fillets skin-side up in the skillet. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, without moving the fish, until the edges of the fillets are opaque and the bottom is golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  7. Using 2 spatulas, gently flip the fillets and cook on the second side until the thickest part of the fillet easily separates into flakes when a toothpick is inserted, about 2 minutes longer.
  8. Transfer the fillets, one to each heated dinner plate, keeping them bone-side up, and return the plates to the oven.
  9. Wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon each oil and butter and the remaining fish fillets.
  11. Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the butter melts, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
  12. Continue to cook, swirling the pan constantly, until the butter is golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes; remove the skillet from the heat.
  13. Remove the plates from the oven and sprinkle the fillets with the parsley.
  14. Add the lemon juice to the browned butter and season to taste with salt; spoon the sauce over the fish and serve immediately with the lemon wedges.
 Try to purchase fillets that are of similar size, and avoid those that weigh less than 5 ounces because they will cook too quickly. A nonstick skillet insures that the fillets will release from the pan, but for the sauce a traditional skillet is preferable because its light-colored surface will allow you to monitor the color of the butter as it browns.



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