Today I celebrate both my 40th entry and one year on this blog! I never anticipated how much I would enjoy writing this, and it has become a necessary outlet for my thoughts about food, design, people, and Austin. Thanks for reading!
To appropriately send off this occasion, I have a very special meal in mind. It comes in the form of a delicate fish in my favorite French preparation: Sole Meuniere. I love the subtle hints of fennel (used in the dusting powder) and the decadent butter sauce spiked with capers. I seem to always pair it with various sauteed greens – spinach, kale, or chard – since it would seem a shame for another vegetable to try to compete with this amazing crunchy texture. The meal rounds out with some healthy and delicious braised radishes from the garden.
Sole Meuniere (adapted from Food & Wine October 2003)
2 tsp ground fennel
1/2 c. white flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground white pepper
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. dry white wine
Six 2 oz. sole fillets (they’re usually really tiny – just shoot for 6 oz. per person)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp drained capers
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1. On a plate, combine the fennel, flour, salt, and pepper. In a shallow bowl combine the heavy cream and white wine. Dip each sole piece in the wine mixture, then dredge through the flour and set aside.
2. In a stainless steel skillet, heat the olive oil and canola oils until they are shimmering. Throw in a pinch of flour; if it immediately sizzles, then you’re ready. Place the fish in the pan but do not crowd. Brown on each side for 2-3 minutes, working in two batches if necessary. Remove the fish to serving plates.
3. Wipe out the skillet, return to heat and add the butter; when it stops foaming add the thyme & capers. Fry those for a bit, turn off the heat, and add the vinegar. Spoon mixture over fish and serve.
Braised Radishes (from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison)
10 plump radishes
1 tbsp butter
1 shallot, diced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
salt & fresh ground pepper
1. Trim the leaves from the radishes, leaving a bit of the green stems, and scrub them. Leave smaller radishes whole and halve or quarter the larger ones.
2. Melt 2 tsp butter in a small saute pan. Add the shallot and thyme and cook for 1 minute over medium heat. Add the radishes, a little salt & pepper, and water just to cover. Simmer until the radishes are tender, 3-5 minutes. Remove radishes to a serving dish. Boil the liquid, adding a tsp or two more butter if you like, until 1/4 cup remains. Pour over the radishes and serve.