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.
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.
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.”
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.
I had to practice Sole Meunière over and over for culinary school finals… not a bad dish to have to keep making, and my taste-testers never seemed to complain too much 😉
It’s been forever since I last had it, but seeing it here brings back delicious memories! Lovely post.
Thank you for your comment. It is a dish I used to prepare often and really enjoyed, but I had not made it in years until this week.
I love the French and Italian classic dishes and while it is fun to try some of the newer recipes, I always find myself going back to cookbooks and chefs with reliable sources, especially when I am entertaining.
I loved the recipes in Lidia’s new cookbook and will be preparing several of them this weekend when we have guests.
Such a classic recipe, and yet I have never even tried it! Thanks for sharing Lidia’s recipe, just bookmarked it to make it when life…literally slows down. Our season has been a busy one!
I understand about having a hectic season. It has been a busy summer this year! I hope you will take the time to prepare this dish when things quiet down. It is one of those recipes you will fall in love with.
I recall that excerpt in My Life in France about the sole meuniere and wondering to myself how it must have felt to be swept off one’s feet because of this dish. Amazingly it was a recollection that was from decades before so the fish must have been incredible. I will have to try Lidia’s version. I like my fish crisp too!
We were swept off of our feet the other evening. Mr. B is hard to please and he really raved about this recipe. It has been several years since I have made Sole Meunière and I had forgotten how much we enjoy this beautiful dish.
I often make an interpretation of this, but the lemon aspect is new to me…I can’t wait to try this! Served with a Bastianich wine–and that it was a Julia favorite, too–makes it all the more special!
very beautifully written and prepared as well… I must try this version as it seams lighter with very little sauce – my association with the meuniere preparation is more influenced from the Creole French way which is very similar in ingredients yet with all butter and a bit more liquid making more sauce, or maybe that’s just the way I was taught to do it… I know I will like the olive oil depth a lot, esp in finishing…
I’ve made Julia’s version of sole meuniere, and I had a similar experience as she did, only we walked out into the humid heat of NJ to go to a movie after finishing :P. So sole meuniere is sole meuniere, right? I want your version of Lida’s 🙂 Actually, I don’t think a bad recipe for this exists..how can it? Love your plating!
There’s just nothing better than a perfect sole meunière.
The first time I made this dish, I made it with a group of 5th graders, for a Medieval Banquet we were preparing for their parents, as the fish course.
The parents were kind of blown away.
Fabulous recipe! I have often been astonished discovering dishes I thought were typically French in Italy and vice versa but I love to see the slight differences between the two – what makes it particularly French or Italian. I remember my first Sole Meunière – with my future husband in Paris in the famed brasserie Chartier. A lunch I will never forget. Thanks for sharing your incredible trip with us, Gwen. I love the pic of you drinking wine – adorable!
I printed this lovely recipe when Lidia first offered it and have not had a chance to prepare; I will do so in the near future, it looks simple, elegant and delicious.
Thank you for posting – I cannot wait to try!
Wonderful recipe. I’m from New Orleans so we cook Trout instead of sole. it’s actually speckled trout which i believe is close to a sea bass. Anyhow, we eat it at least twice a month in my house. Perfect food.
This was my dish to serve my family tonight, in celebration of Julia’s 100th birthday. I served it with asparagus–the “French” way, shaved and lightly bathed in hot water–along with Julia’s potato gratin (with a slight twist, adding a grating of Gruyere, to finish). My daughter said, “Mom, Julia would have been proud.” So glad to have tried this version of Sole Meuniere. Thanks for sharing it, Gwen!
I make this dish from time to time for the bf. He loves it. It tastes so rich, I always feel guilty when I eat it. 🙂
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