Try out this classic lemon sole meuniere recipe: here is a delicious pan fried French dover sole in a quick and easy lemon and butter sauce! French cuisine at its best.
Sole meuniere is one of those dishes that sounds fancy and complicated, but is actually very simple and easy to make.
It is a traditional French recipe of lightly floured fish fillets, pan-fried in butter and served with a lemon and parsley sauce. It is so delicious and elegant that it was the dish that made Julia Child fall in love with French cuisine.
Are you familiar with this sole meuniere recipe?
I make this pan fried sole in butter sauce very often when I am back in Belgium.
That white sole meat is so soft, delicate and flavorful, so tacky and moist!
I can’t easily find common dover sole (or lemon sole) here in Spain.
What I can get at the fishmonger’s is a type of sole called ‘lenguado tigre’ or tiger sole.
This fish is very popular and very easy to find because lots of fish mongers sell this sole.
It is much larger than the classic dover sole. The prices are also sweet. I know that in Belgium the average price for a good quality sole is around 30 euros per kilo.
Here it is around 10 euros.
Best Sole Meuniere Recipe with Butter Sauce
Because the soles are quite large here, I mostly buy one big bugger for the hubs and me and then I cut it in half right before pan frying it. But when I am back in Belgium I like the smaller ones.
There is this type of small sole that is called sliptong (sometimes wrongfully written ‘slibtong’) and is a bit cheaper than the dover sole.
Are you not fond of fish on the bone?
Of course you can use fillets here!
Decide for yourself how many fillets you want, coat them in flour and then bake the fillets golden in butter. Same prepping and execution.
Personally I prefer whole fish over fillets.
It is like with meat: bones give extra flavor to the food while cooking it.
For this lemon sole recipe I chose to prepare it the classic way: sole meuniere. Simple melted butter sauce with a tad of lemon juice and freshly chopped parsley.
Just perfect! Sometimes capers are also added, which is not a standard ingredient in a classic sole meunière recipe.
What to serve this lovely butter sauce fish with?
I suggest that you keep it simple: a crisp green salad and a bowlful of golden homemade fries!
Do you love fish and capers?
Then you should also check out my fresh haddock fillets with capers!
Best Sole Meuniere Recipe with Butter Sauce
- 2 medium dover soles
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- Rinse the dover soles under cold running tap water. Then pat the fish dry using kitchen paper.
Pour the flour in a deep plate and season it with some pepper and salt. Coat the fish on both sides with the flour and then shake off any excess flour.
Add the olive oil and a tablespoon of butter to a large non-stick frying pan and place it over medium heat until the melted butter starts to foam. Then add the soles to the pan.
- Fry the soles on one side for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown. Then flip the fish over on its uncooked side. Bake the fish for another 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown on both sides.
Then remove the soles from the hot pan. Transfer them to a clean plate. Cover with tinfoil. Discard the browned butter that is still in the hot pan. Wipe it clean with kitchen paper. Then add the remaining butter to the pan and place it over medium-low heat until melted. Add the lemon juice and half of the chopped parsley. Season with a dash of pepper and salt.
Take the butter sauce off the heat. Place the fried soles onto clean plates and then drizzle with the lemon butter sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley. Serve hot.
Sole meuniere is a classic French dish of sole fillets cooked in a brown butter sauce with lemon and parsley.
The dish is credited to the renowned French chef, Auguste Escoffier. Escoffier was a pioneer of modern French cuisine and is widely regarded as one of the greatest chefs in history.
He popularized and refined many traditional French dishes, including this sole meuniere recipe, during his career in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Sole meuniere is a classic French dish that dates back to the 19th century. The name means “sole in the style of the miller’s wife”, because the fish is coated in flour before frying, as if it had been dusted with flour at the mill.
The miller’s wife
The flour helps to protect the delicate flesh of the fish from overcooking, and also creates a crispy crust that contrasts with the moist interior.
The fish used for this dish is usually sole, a flatfish that has a mild and sweet flavor and a firm texture. The most prized variety is the Dover sole, which is found in the waters of the English Channel and the North Sea, but other types of sole or flounder can also be used, such as lemon sole, plaice, megrim or dab.
The fish should be fresh, skinless and boneless (or you can ask your fishmonger to do it for you), and about 140g/5oz each.
The sauce for sole meuniere is made with butter, lemon juice, parsley and sometimes capers.
The butter is melted in the same pan where the fish was cooked, until it turns brown and nutty. This is called beurre noisette, or brown butter, and it adds a rich and complex flavor to the dish. The lemon juice adds acidity and freshness, while the parsley adds color and aroma.
The capers are not a standard ingredient in a classic sole meunière recipe, but they add a nice salty and tangy touch.
What to serve with sole meuniere
This sole meuniere recipe is a light and delicate dish that can be enjoyed on its own, or paired with some simple sides that complement its flavor without overpowering it.
Some of my favorite sides for sole are:
- boiled or steamed new potatoes, sprinkled with some salt, pepper and parsley
- green beans or asparagus, blanched or sautéed in butter
- a green salad with a vinaigrette dressing
- crusty grilled bread to mop up the lemon sauce
And what about wines?
Serve a crisp cold white wine with this dish, such as a Chablis, a Muscadet or a Sauvignon Blanc, to enhance the freshness and acidity of the lemon and capers.
Variations on this sole meuniere recipe
My sole meuniere recipe is a classic that doesn’t need much changing, but you can always experiment with some variations and adaptations to suit your taste and preferences.
Here are some ideas and tips:
- use other types of fish for this dish, such as cod, haddock, halibut or trout. Just adjust the cooking time according to the thickness and size of the fish
- add garlic, shallots, thyme or bay leaves to the butter sauce for extra flavor, or toasted almonds or pine nuts for crunch
- make it a gluten-free sole meuniere recipeby using cornstarch or rice flour instead of flour, or ditch the flour and just season the fish with salt and pepper
- make a dairy-free version by using olive oil or vegan butter, and adding some nutritional yeast for some cheesy flavor
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and learned how to make sole meuniere recipe at home.
It is a simple but delicious dish that will impress your family and friends, and make you feel like you are in a French bistro.