Sole Meunière (Filetto di Sogliola al Limone) from Lidia’s Favorite Recipes

 

Today, more than ever, we want and need to gather around the table with our family and friends to escape our daily distractions, and what better way than with food that is luscious, nutritious, and cooked with love. – Lidia Bastianich (quoted from Lidia’s Favorite Recipes)

So much of our life is spent preoccupied with business and work matters, computer time, watching television, and in the car running errands.  Our complex lives leave less time to prepare nurturing meals to share with those we love.

It is often difficult to get off this treadmill and take time to enjoy life.  I was fiercely reminded of this during our recent visit to Europe and in particular, Italy.  There is a real zest for life in Italy, a desire to slow down and take the time to savor the food, the wine, the surroundings, and enjoy the moment.

Friuli

I was transported back to those memories of Europe last evening as the aroma of sizzling olive oil, butter and garlic filled our home; aromatic and lingering, the beginnings of a wonderful and classic dish.  I thought of the French bistros and Italian trattorias we have visited in the past and why those meals were so memorable.

Sole Meunière.  This beautiful preparation of what I knew to be a classic French dish is also offered on many Italian menus, called Filetto di Sogliola al Limone.  The delicate flavors and texture of the lemon sole are eloquently enhanced with the piquant sauce prepared with lemon, capers, parsley, and white wine.  Every bite was perfectly balanced with the sautéed fish, brininess of the capers and lemony sauce; a dish that is meant to be savored and given the attention it deserves.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy this dish

This recipe for Sole Meunière (Filetto di Sogliola al Limone) is one of the 100 recipes in Lidia’s Favorite Recipes, Lidia Bastianich’s new cookbook that is co-authored with her daughter, Tayna Bastianich Manuali.  It will be released this Fall (2012).  The recipes are accompanied by the story and history of each dish and why they are her favorites.  Some are reader favorites, some are her family’s favorite recipes and some are Lidia’s new favorites.

I found myself placing a marker in nearly every page I read.  I was inspired by so many dishes in this cookbook.  Many of these recipes I had made in the past, but was reminded of how much I enjoyed them, so I will make them again soon.  Others were recipes I look forward to making for the first time.  Many are seasonally focused but can easily be adapted by interchanging whatever is fresh at your market.  I appreciated the clear and precise instructions along with Lidia’s notes about the dish.

Lidia says she served Sole Meunière at her first restaurant, Buonavia, which she opened in 1971, and she continues to serve it in her restaurants today.  She shared this in her recent newsletter, “In my early childhood I was living on the coast in Istria, so I can never say no to a good seafood recipe. One dish that my family – even all five of the grandkids – has been enjoying this summer is Sole Meunière.  It’s light, which I appreciate when it’s warm out, but still very flavorful. I’ve fed it to children even younger than my grandkids and it’s always a hit – maybe hold off on the capers for the pickiest eaters.  Anyway, Sole Meunière truly is one of my favorites–I’ve even included it in my forthcoming book.”

Fish market in Europe with flounder (far right bin)

Sole Meunière is not only one of Lidia’s favorite dishes, it is also Julia Child’s favorite dish.  Preparing this recipe had so much significance at this particular time since Julia Child was a great friend to Lidia Bastianich as well as an inspiration and catalyst for her career.  With the celebration of Julia’s 100th birthday on August 15th, Sole Meunière is probably the one dish that altered the history of American cooking and our relationship with French food in the United States.

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