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Flounder with Parsley Sauce

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Petrale sole with parsley sauce

Petrale sole with parsley sauce

Hank Shaw
This is a delicate -- and time-consuming -- parsley sauce I use most often with an equally delicate fish, such as sole, flounder, walleye, ling or even a skate wing. You could also use a small California halibut. It results in a deep, rich green sauce that juxtaposes perfectly with a mild-flavored fish. Serve the flounder with an austere white wine such as a chenin blanc or a pinot grigio.

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb skinless flounder, sole or other white fish fillets
  • 1 dozen leaves of green garlic or a small handful of garlic chives
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • A splash of dry white wine, about a tablespoon
  • 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 quart fish stock
  • 1 lemon, quartered, for garnish
  • 1 T. parsley, chopped fine

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. It should taste like the sea. Prepare an ice water bath in a bowl.

When the water is boiling, dunk the parsley and garlic greens into the water and boil for 30 seconds. Remove and submerge in the ice water bath.

Remove main stems of the parsley, and roughly chop all the herbs. Place in a food processor.

Buzz in a food processor until it is a smooth puree. Add fish stock from the 1 cup measure as you go -- if you need to -- in order to get the herbs to puree properly.

Dump the puree into a very fine sieve set over a bowl. Let the mixture drain for 5 minutes. Collect the bright green liquid in the bowl and reserve it.

With a rubber spatula, scrape and push the puree through the sieve by turning and pressing and scraping it, over and over. From time to time remove the "good stuff" that collects on the bottom of the strainer and let it collect in your bowl. Keep at this process for at least 15 minutes, or until the puree begins to look dry.

If the now-strained puree in the bowl looks too much like a paste, add a little bit of the reserved green liquid and mix -- you want it to be a thick liquid.

Now you have a decision: You can poach your flounder or you can saute it.

To poach, bring the quart of fish stock to a simmer, about 200 degrees, immerse your flounder fillets in the stock and turn off the heat. Cover the pot and leave it for 10-15 minutes, depending on how thin they are.

To saute, a tablespoon of butter to a pan and follow the directions for sauteeing fish on the link below.

Either way, you must complete the sauce. If you poached the fish, heat a pan for 3 minutes on high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-high and add the 1 tablespoon of butter. Let it melt and froth and then add the white wine. Let this cook down almost to nothing, then add whatever fish stock you had left over from the initial 1 cup. Boil this down by 2/3. Taste for salt, and add more if needed.

If you sauteed the fish, remove to a warm oven and then pour the white wine into the pan. Scrape off with a wooden spoon any bits that had stuck to the pan; this is called deglazing. When the wine is almost cooked down, add the stock, cook it down by 2/3 and test for salt.

At this point in either preparation, turn off the heat. Add the parsley puree and the other tablespoon of butter, then swirl to combine.

To serve, put a pool of the sauce on the plates and top with the flounder. Garnish with the fine chopped parsley and a lemon wedge.

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