Recipe: Classic Pan-Fried Sole

Sole is so underrated. Halibut typically steals the show in our region when it comes to flatfish, but there are a number of species that are next-level delicacies. My first experience was as a little kid and my parents took my sister and me to a place in San Francisco called Tadich Grill. Any place that has been in business since the 1800s has to be doing something right. I’ve ALWAYS ordered the sole there because they have it on absolute lockdown and, for the flavor, it tastes as good as anything on the menu, but at half the price. When I do my recipes I take dishes that inspire me (like their fried Rex sole) and make them my own… and honestly, how my family and friends would like them prepared.  

We don’t catch a ton of sole around here unless targeted or you accidentally hit the honey hole; the only ones I’ve caught were from my kayak in Central California. After you eat a few, you may start actually trying to find them! Almost everyone has caught sand dabs, and that’s a whole ‘nother story… but yet another often discarded fish that is delicious if prepared properly. Petrale sole, dover sole and sand sole are a few other types of flatfish in our region, so if you’re fishing for something else and reel one of these up, consider yourself lucky and keep it! Be sure to read the regulations and, mainly, don’t accidentally keep a short halibut.  

Next Recipe: Ling Wings & Broiled Cod Belly

Because sole are bottom dwellers, I always gut and gill them immediately; check to make sure they’re clean, and immediately put them on ice. It’s a fish with a very open canvass when it comes to preparation, so feel free to cook beyond this one recipe. You can poach, sauté, deep fry, steam, bake or grill (just don’t overcook on the latter). Explore the different species our ocean has on offer, and stay clear of the culinary rut! 

Hungry? View more recipes on the Recipes Forum

Recipe: Classic Pan-Fried Sole

Ingredients

  • Fish:
  • Sole fillets cut into individual servings and patted dry
  • Kosher sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 TBSP B & O Lemon EVOO and 2 TBSP butter (more depending on portions)
  • Breading:
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt and pepper (to season the flour)
  • Two eggs - beaten
  • Sauce:
  • B & O Lemon EVOO and 4 TBSP butter (more depending on portions)
  • 1 shallot - minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 2 TBSP capers - chopped
  • 1 Tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup white wine (I use Ziobaffa pinot grigio)
  • 1 Tsp herbs de provence
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Side & Add-ons:
  • Fresh green beans - washed and trimmed
  • Wild rice (or other rice of preference)
  • Fresh lemon wedges
  • Parsley - minced

Preparation

  1. Pat fish dry and lightly season with salt & pepper.
  2. Mince, chop, and slice your produce for sauce and add-ons.
  3. Put your wild rice on the stove and cook per directions.
  4. About 10 minutes into the rice cooking, put your green beans in the steamer, and cook until al dente. They will continue to cook, so wait until serving and once tender, toss in a bowl with butter, salt, pepper, and lemon.
  5. For the sauce, heat the oil and ¼ of the butter and add the shallots, garlic, capers, herbs, and salt/pepper and simmer for a few minutes (without burning the garlic). Add the white wine and simmer to burn off the alcohol. Put in the Dijon and stir until everything is incorporated. Keep on the stovetop over low heat to keep warm, stirring occasionally.
  6. If you have a lot of people (and therefore fish to cook), preheat the oven to 190F, so you can keep the fish warm on a baking sheet.
  7. Get two plates and a bowl - one plate with seasoned flour, one bowl with two eggs mixed, and one plate with the panko and seasoning.
  8. In that order, dredge the fish in flour (knocking off excess), then into the egg wash, and lastly into the seasoned panko mix. Drop the pieces into the oil and butter mixture, laying the pieces away from you to avoid getting burned.
  9. Cook until golden brown and the fish is cooked through; about 2 minutes a side, depending on the size of the cuts. Remove carefully, lay on paper towels to drain and immediately season (lightly) with kosher salt.
  10. Important! Sole is thin and delicate, so if you have smaller, thinner pieces (depending on the size of the fish) you literally may only need to cook it for 60 to 90 seconds per side.
  11. Plate the rice, green beans, and fish and ladle the sauce over the top… garnishing with fresh lemon wedges and parsley.
Let’s just say, Adam Traubman could use a few more hours in each day. “Trout” can’t go more than 24 hours without fishing, surfing, paddling, diving, anything without getting the wiggles. So with a wife, three kids, two dogs, three snakes, an organic garden AND work... the man has his work c...