(Photo cred: William Panlilio)
Last weekend, I had posted up a quick and easy salad recipe I made during one of my friend William’s many dinner parties (though party would probably be an understatement for these feasts). Seeing as Lent has begun and I’m giving up red meat for a while, I thought it’d be a good time to introduce my second dish from that night: a simple yet elegant French dish of pan-fried bluefish drizzled with a rich lemon-butter sauce. The tartness of the lemon cuts through the fatty butter (it’ll also cut through any guilt you have of using butter soooo…we’re all good yes?).
A quick note on fish. The appropriate type to use in the recette authentique would be sole or a similar whitefish, but seeing as Whole Foods charges an arm-and-a-leg for these wild-caught, “luxury” cuts, I went with Bluefish, which is akin to Mackerel. Bluefish is fattier and is great grilled, another reason using lemon is key in this recipe.
It’s lunch time on a Monday so I’ll be less verbose than usual…straight to the recipe!
*makes 12 filets, feeds about 8 attempting-to-be-sophisticated-so-they-don’t-eat-too-much convives.
~2 lbs. bluefish, cut into 5×4″ filets and scored (to prevent curling)
3 – 4 lemons
1 shallot, minced
3/4 – 1 cup of flour on a plate (to dredge the fish)
1/2 stick unsalted better
Bunch of Italian parsley, roughly chopped as a garnish
Salt & pepper
Notice how few ingredients there are!? That’s right. Easy on the wallet, hard on the heart strings (read: great date night recipe!)
1) Heat some oil in your pan. While waiting, dredge your fish in the flour. Don’t do this far too early (like I did) as for some reason the flour either is “absorbed” or it falls off.
2) Fry your fish in batches to prevent overcrowding skin side first (about 3 – 4 mins.) and then flip and cook for another 2 – 3 mins. My cuts were pretty thick so I actually had to turn the heat down to medium and cook longer. Your filets should preferably be thinner so you can cook them at a higher heat for less time. Set aside the fish onto a paper-towel lined plate.
3) As you cook the fish, slice one of the lemons into circles, another into wedges, and the rest into halves. This will be both your garnish and sauce.
4) Once your fish is done, toss half a stick of butter (more if you want it richer…or you’re more depressed) into the pan and lower the heat to medium if not already.
5) Toss your shallots and lemon circles in, then squeeze the lemon halves’ juice onto the butter once the latter has fully melted. Make sure your butter isn’t smoking! Cook the lemons for about a minute or so and finish your sauce by tossing in 1/2 your parsley.
6) Plate by placing the fresh parsley at the bottom of your plate, arranging your fish on top of this bed, and drizzling your sauce, cooked parsley, and lemon wedges right on top. Serve with roasted vegetables, potatoes, or even just a good hunk of bread.
Get some white wine and jazz going and you have yourself a pretty chic meal. C’est très facile, non?