Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min
Total time: 25 min
Yield: 2 servings
This dish is an inventive crossbreeding of two classic dishes: sole amandine, in which the fish is finished with sautéed sliced almonds, and sole meunière, in which the fish, often whole, is sautéed in browned butter. In my version, I use baby flounder (easier to find in the market here than true sole), lightly coat the fillets with ground almonds, sauté them in browned butter, and serve them with toasted almonds and a sprinkling of parsley (borrowed from the meunière). It's a marriage of equal partners and one that I think would easily win familial approval on both sides of the aisle.
A word on quantity: Since I usually make this for my husband and myself, I've given you a recipe that serves two, but of course the recipe can be multiplied. If you have to prepare the fillets in batches, though, it's best to lightly cover the sautéed fillets and keep them in a 300-degree-F oven while you fry the remaining fish.
- 1/3 cup ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 baby flounder fillets , about 3 ounces each
- 1 large egg yolk , lightly beaten
- About 2 tablespoons cold butter , preferably salted (you'll need more if you're cooking in batches)
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Toasted sliced almonds, for garnish
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Whisk the ground almonds, flour, and zest together, then season the mix with salt and pepper. Pat the fish fillets dry and, using a pastry brush, lightly coat one side of each fillet with a little of the beaten yolk. (I coat the side that would have had skin.) Dip the coated side of each fillet into the nut mixture.
- Put a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and a small pinch of salt, if your butter isn’t salted, and cook the butter until it turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Slip the fillets into the skillet nut side down, without crowding, lower the heat, and cook for 3 minutes or so, until the coating is golden and the fish is cooked halfway through. Season the exposed side of each fillet with salt and pepper, add another ½ tablespoon cold butter to the pan, and very gently turn the fillets over. Cook, spooning some of the browned butter over the fillets once or twice, until the fish is opaque throughout, about 2 minutes more. If it looks like the pan is dry, add a little more butter. (If you weren’t able to cook all the fillets in one pan, keep the cooked fish warm while you sauté the remaining fillets; see note.)
- Give each fillet a squirt of lemon juice, then scatter over some toasted almonds and parsley. Have more lemon wedges at the table so you can give the fish another squeeze or two if needed.
The flounder is good with simple sides, like boiled potatoes — roll them around in a little butter and sprinkle them with chives before serving — steamed spinach, or broccoli. I often pair the fish with braised fennel, or as untraditional a match as it is, Matafan.
Although you could make the nut mixture earlier in the day or even the day before, the fillets should be enjoyed as soon as they’re cooked. These portions are small, so it’s doubtful you’ll have leftovers, but if you do, you’ll be surprised how good the fish is when you make it into a sandwich with sliced tomatoes on toasted white or egg bread spread with mayonnaise, Rouille, or mayo mixed with a dab of Sriracha.