My Mother's "Sole"

My Mother's


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The little apron instantly brings me back to my childhood surrounded by the heady aromas of a luscious beef stew, a rich bowl of tomato soup or crispy fried chicken that far surpassed the colonel's. I'm now just as passionate about food and its preparation as Mom was. And when I tie the strings of her old apron around my waist and pull out this recipe of hers which I've renamed My Mother's “Sole”, I'm treated to a nudge of maternal encouragement from the person I loved most in the world and My Mother's “Sole” turns out perfectly every time! Here's to my mother and all mothers, not just on Mother's Day, but EVERY day! This is a fabulous dish which is rolled and poached, then covered with a silky sauce of fish stock, white wine and cream. On that goes a golden hollandaise sauce fluffed with whipped cream which is broiled briefly before serving. Definitely a decadent treat!

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  • 6 petrale sole filets, about 2 lb.
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 7 Tbs. butter, divided
  • 2/3 C. water
  • 1/4 C. white wine (chardonnay)
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 Tbs. flour
  • 1/4 C. light cream
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 dash cayenne
  • 1 Tbs. chopped parsley or watercress
  • Hollandaise Sauce:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 C. butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/4 C. heavy cream, whipped until soft peaks hold

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Make Hollandaise: In double boiler top with wire whisk, slightly beat egg yolks. Slowly beat in melted butter. Cook, stirring, over hot water (water in base should not touch upper pan) just until thick. Mixture will curdle if cooked too long. Whisk the heavy cream into sauce. Gradually beat in lemon juice and 1/4 tsp. salt. Beat until as thick as mayonnaise. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gently rinse filets and pat dry with paper towels. Place dark side up on board. Sprinkle filets with 3/4 tsp. salt and dash of pepper. Dot with 2 Tbs. butter.

Starting at narrow end, roll up filets. Secure with toothpicks. In buttered shallow baking dish, stand filets upright on even sides. Pour water and white wine over fish. Top with sliced onion and bay leaf.

Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes or until fish flakes when tested with fork. Remove bay leaf and onion. Remove filets to oven-proof platter and keep warm. (Leave the oven on; you'll be broiling these soon.) Remove toothpicks gently; fish is fragile. Strain fish stock, reserving 1 1/4 C. liquid.

Melt 3 Tbs. butter in saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in flour and dash cayenne until smooth. Gradually stir in fish stock and bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in light cream and mix well. Pour over fish.

Increase oven temperature to broil.

Melt remaining 2 Tbs. butter and sauté mushrooms. Add lemon juice and salt. Cook until tender. Spoon mushrooms around fish. Pour Hollandaise sauce over filets. Broil 4 inches from heat source until golden brown. Garnish with parsley or watercress and serve.

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