While salmon and tilapia are the go-to staples in the seafood aisle, the oceans hold a trove of other fish. Sole is a flatfish that’s as delicious as it is easy to prepare. You may have tried it à la Meunière, but its svelte dimensions and supple flesh make it well suited for pan frying.
This almond crusted sole covers one side of each fillet in a crust of crushed almonds, sesame seeds, and coriander, adding substance, texture, and flavor to the delicate white-meat fish. The crust acts as an insulator, preventing sole from getting overcooked, and by the time the almonds have formed a golden brown crust, the fillet is almost fully cooked, requiring only a few seconds on the other side to finish it off.
The result is a filet that has a variety of crunchy and crispy textures with rich nutty flavors that accentuate the umami in the fish. I like using Dover sole both for its size and flavor, but this will work with any small flatfish like sanddabs or flounder.
I ended up serving this on a bed of sauteed spinach, but it would be equally good (and beautiful) atop a layer of asparagus. If you’re feeling like something more substantial, a simple pasta or even a lemony ramen salad would be pretty awesome.
Other than that, some lemon zest grated on top and a wedge of lemon is all these need, but if you really want to get fancy these are great served with a lemon beurre blanc. Just be sure to sauce the plate and not the fish, as drizzling the sauce on top will cause the crust to get soggy.
If your sole fillets are more than a few inches wide, you’ll want to split them in half down the middle where the crease is, as it makes handling them easier.
Almond Crusted Sole
This almond crusted sole is covered in crushed almonds, sesame seeds, and coriander, adding substance, texture, and flavor to the delicate white-meat fish. (Recipe Credit: Marc Matsumoto of Fresh Tastes.)
- 2.3 ounces almonds
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seed
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 12.4 ounces sole fillets
- Salt (to taste)
- Black pepper (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Put the almonds, sesame seeds, and coriander seed in the bowl of a small food processor and pulse to break up into small crumbs (no larger than 1/8-inch). Empty the mixture into a plate.
- Whisk the cream and and dijon mustard together until smooth in a shallow bowl.
- Sprinkle one side of the sole fillets with salt and pepper.
- Dip the other side in the cream mixture, making sure to coat that side completely. Try to avoid getting cream on the side with the salt and pepper.
- Lay the fillet on the almond mixture and press down on the fillet to ensure you get a nice thick crust on one side. Transfer the sole to a tray with the almond side down. You can do this up to an hour in advance.
- Add the olive oil to a frying pan and heat over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the sole with the almond crusted side down. Fry until the almonds are golden brown and fragrant and the fish is almost cooked through.
- Use a thin spatula to flip the fish over, being careful not to scrape the crust off of the sole. Fry the second side just long enough to cook the sole through (it took mine about 5 seconds).
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marcs been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.