Seafood is wonderful. It’s usually almost laughably easy to prepare and tastes delightfully light and fresh. For some reason, a lot of people are intimidated to try making seafood at home. Maybe because it looks and tastes so aristocratic and cultured. I’ve got great news for you! Fish is probably one of the easiest (and fastest) dinner options. The #1 thing to remember is not to overcook the fish.
As soon as I saw this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen, I just knew that this would become one of my favorites. Sole is a very mild and delicate fish. It is very thin, so it’s perfect for rolling into cute little bundles, which gives the excellent opportunity to infuse the fish with mild, aromatic flavors, like garlic, herbs, and lemon throughout the fish.
You know how breadcrumbs become soggy and gloppy when you bake them on top of a dish? Not a problem with this recipe. The breadcrumbs are cooked separately until they are golden and crunchy and then sprinkled on the fish minutes before it’s ready. Some of the breadcrumbs are set aside and sprinkled on top of the fish when serving, for a fresh crunch. Genius!
- 2-3 Tablespoons parsley minced
- 2-3 Tablespoons chives minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest finely grated
- 5 Tablespoons butter
- salt, pepper
- 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 6 (about 6 oz each) sole fillets or you can use flounder
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1-2 garlic cloves minced
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the minced garlic on medium heat for about 30 seconds. Take the garlic butter off the heat. Cooking the garlic will make it milder and not so powerful and robust. Pour all but 1 Tablespoon of the butter in a small bowl and set aside.Wipe the skillet with a paper towel and put the 1 Tablespoon of butter back in the skillet. Add the panko bread crumbs. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the crumbs are golden. Add 1/2 – 1 Tablespoon of minced herbs to the breadcrumbs. Set aside. Mix the rest of the minced herbs with the lemon zest.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels. I had a hard time finding sole fillets, and the only ones I found were very small, so I just cooked them less. I used flounder one of the times, and it turned out perfectly. You can only use thin, flat fish for this recipe. The other fish will not be able to roll properly. If you use smaller fish, serve two per person, and reduce the baking time.
Season each side with salt and pepper. Lay the fish with the narrow end pointed away from you. Spread a thin layer of mustard on each fillet. Sprinkle with the minced herbs and lemon zest. Drizzle about a teaspoon of the garlic butter over each of the fillets. Roll up the fillets tightly, starting with the widest side. You don’t need to use toothpicks of kitchen twine to hold the fish together. It keeps it’s shape beautifully, because it’s so flat. Place seam side down on a baking dish and drizzle the rest of the butter over the fish bundles. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the center of the fish is 135 degrees. When the fish is 135 degrees in the center, (you’ll need to cook it for 15-25 minutes, depending on how thick the fish is) sprinkle half the breadcrumb mixture over the fish and cook for 5 more minutes, uncovered.