There was a time in my life when I didn’t eat fish. Our son James (who is a Chef) will boldly tell you he doesn’t like fish. However, he loves sushi, sushimi, fish and chips, clam chowder, baked stuffed Haddock, and is a fan of my Cioppino. He eats all of these things and truly enjoys them. And just about the time James has been willing to say he thinks he might like fish after all. Jim twists his arm to make him try a tasty bite of salmon. This is when James reaffirms his dislike for fish!
James had several chefs in culinary school who also wouldn’t go near Salmon.
My experience, especially while in Santa Barbara, everyone’s go to dish, at any given dinner party is always salmon. I take a little piece and break into smaller pieces and push it around the plate just so people think I’m eating it.
The Fish Meuniere with Browned Butter and Lemon is my favorite dish and James makes it better than anyone I know. It’s not a hard dish to make but it takes a very light touch. This happens to be a recipe James will not eat, however, he states as chef he is required to know how to prepare just about everything but being a chef doesn’t require you to like all of what you make.
The best fish meunière recipes produce perfectly cooked fillets that are delicately crisp and golden brown on the outside and moist and flavorful on the inside, napped in buttery yet light sauce. We found that the type of fish matters less than its freshness and the thickness of the fillet. For the perfect coating, there was no need to use eggs or bread crumbs. We simply dried the fillets, seasoned them with salt and pepper, allowed them to sit for five minutes, then dredged them in flour. A nonstick skillet coated with a mixture of oil and butter prevented sticking. For the sauce, we browned the butter in a stainless steel skillet, seasoned it with lemon juice, then poured the mixture over the fish. The lemon juice in the sauce added a pleasant lightness. James only uses cast iron so no nonstick pans for him.
- 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 6 ounce fillets, 3/8 inch thick, patted dry with paper towels (can be sole, flounder, tilapia, or trout)
- salt and ground black pepper, 1/2″ cubes
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 lemon, cut in wedges for serving
1. FOR THE FISH: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set 2 heatproof dinner plates on rack, heat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Place flour in large baking dish.
3. Season both sides of each fillet generously with salt and pepper; let stand until fillets are glistening with moisture, about 5 minutes.
4. Coat both sides of fillet with flour, shake off excess, and place in single layer on baking sheet.
5. Heat oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until shimmering, then butter and swirl to coat pan bottom; when foaming subsides, carefully place fillets in skillet, bone-side down.
6. Immediately reduce heat to medium-high and cook, without moving fish, until edges of fillets are opaque and bottom is golden brown, about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Using 2 spatulas, gently flip fillets (see illustration below) and cook on second side until thickest part of fillet easily separates into flakes when toothpick is inserted, about 2 minutes longer.
7. Transfer fillets, one to each heated dinner plate, keeping bone- side up, and return plates to oven.
8. FOR THE BROWNED BUTTER: Heat butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until butter melts, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly, until butter is golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes; remove skillet from heat.
9. Remove plates from oven and sprinkle fillets with parsley. Add lemon juice to browned butter and season to taste with salt; spoon sauce over fish and serve immediately with lemon wedges.