Saturday, February 2, 2013

Poached Filet of Sole in White Wine Sauce

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I must start this post with a confession – I am no great lover of cooked fish. When I was younger, I used to eat it all the time, but somewhere along the way my taste buds decided they weren't having it anymore. These days, the majority of my fish consumption comes in the form of sushi, but an enjoyment of cooked fish is starting to slowly return to me! Even so, I’ll still only go for white fish that doesn’t taste particularly fishy. Salmon is still a no go for me.

Of course, a nice pan reduction sauce can make almost anything taste better than it was originally intended. Such is the case with this filet of sole recipe, called “Sole Vin Blanc” in French (Sole with White Wine). The filets are rolled, skewered, and then cooked in a pot full of aromatic vegetables, white wine, and stock, then served with roasted potatoes and sautéed mushrooms. It’s a fairly simple dish to prepare and, like me, you’ll probably wonder why it took you so long to try fish prepared this way.

Difficulty: Relatively Easy
Active Prep Time: About 45 minutes
Total Prep Time: About 1 hour
Special Equipment: Fine mesh strainer (chinois), wooden skewers
Serves: 2 – 3


  • ~ 1.5 pounds filet of sole
  • 6 - 8 red potatoes (white potatoes are fine as well)
  • 12 - 15 button mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion, rough chop
  • 1 shallot, rough chop
  • 1 large carrot, rough chop
  • 1 - 2 stalks celery, rough chop
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 1 - 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • About 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 beef stock, 1/2 chicken stock (amount varies depending on the size of the pot you use)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Lemon juice, to taste


(The potatoes will take longer to cook than the fish, so it is best to start there)

1. Cut each potato in half, then season potatoes with salt and pepper. Coat a pan with vegetable oil or clarified butter. Heat them in the pan, then place the pan in the oven at 400ºF.

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(Move onto the fish now)

2. Season both sides of each filet with salt and pepper.

3. Roll 3 – 4 filets together, then skewer them so they’ll hold together.

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3. Place the wine, onion, shallot, garlic, thyme, carrot, celery, peppercorns, and stems from the button mushrooms in a pot.

4. Arrange the rolled up filets in the pot, then add equal parts chicken and beef stock. Fill the pot until the the filets are about half submerged in stock.

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5. Cover the pot with tin foil, then place it in the oven at 400ºF for 10 – 15 minutes.

6. While the fish is in the oven, sauté the mushrooms in oil or clarified butter, then set aside when they're cooked.

7. Remove the fish from the oven. The potatoes may still need time to roast – continue cooking them until they’ve browned.

8. Take the fish out of the pot, then strain the poaching liquid through a chinois and into a clean pan. Put the fish back in the pot and cover it with tin foil until needed.

9. Cook the poaching liquid over high heat and allow it to reduce.

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10. When the liquid reaches a semi-thick sauce consistency, add heavy cream and reduce a bit more.

(By now, the potatoes ought to be finished cooking, so remove them from the oven)

11. Place the filets in the pan with the sauce and spoon sauce over them until they’re completely coated in it.

12. Arrange the filets on plates with extra sauce, potatoes, and mushrooms. Garnish with chopped parsley then serve.

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