How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sole Fish Recipe

Over the past decade, Nantucket has become a favorite -- though infrequent -- destination for us. Each time we visit the island (the only place in the U.S. where a county, town, and island are coterminous and cononymous), we enjoy perusing the shop at Bartlett's Ocean View Farm. At some point -- we remember not when or how -- we acquired the farm's cook book, which is a perfect example of the need for this blog project. We are nearly certain that we have never cooked any of its recipes.

At the big box store last weekend -- where we do stock up on some staples -- we considered getting some fish. We decided instead to buy some locally, from our favorite fishmonger (we love that word, too), which we have featured on this blog previously.

Back home, I scanned the cook book shelf for a likely title, and noticed the word "ocean" in the Bartlett book. I should have noticed the cornucopian cover (all veggies) and the word "farm" instead. I use the word "sole" in the title of this post for three reasons, the first of which is that page 89 contains the sole recipe with "fish" in the title. (I did later see tuna -- grilled or canned -- as an ingredient in two tomato dishes that seem like good bets for next summer.)

The second reason for the use of the word "sole" is that the Fish au Gratin recipe calls for "flounder, sole, or scrod," and although all three were available at Fresh Catch, I chose the sole. ("Scrod" is a New England term that can mean "cod" or can mean "whatever fish we feel like serving today." By this definition, scrod is always an option!)

Cooking only for two, and wanting only the fresh dish, I purchased just a half pound, though the recipe calls for a pound and half. With the fish at 1/3 of the specified amount, I decided to cut the other ingredients, in order to have something a bit saucy! This worked out very well, actually, but I'll use the original quantities in this discussion.

I preheated the oven to 475F, placed the sole fillets in a baking dish, and sprinkled them with salt and pepper (recipe says white pepper for looks) and a half-cup of chopped fresh parsley. Then I melted 2T each of butter and lemon juice, in which I sauteed a half pound of sliced mushrooms. Adding a tablespoon of flour to thicken, I then added 1-1/2 cups heavy cream and a couple tablespoons of Vermouth. (OK, I did not exactly measure the vermouth -- I never do.)

After this thickened, I poured it over the fish, sprinkled a tablespoon of shredded Parmesan (again, I never measure this, and probably did a bit more than called for, but not more than required!) After it was already in the oven, I remembered to add finely-crushed breadcrumbs, which was a nice touch, and paprika. I baked for far less than the 20-25 minutes in the recipe, because these fillets were so thin.

This turned out delicious, accompanied by a big baked potato each. Actually, I saved a bit of potato for the next day, and since Pam was making herself a tuna sandwich, I accepted her offer to share so that I could make a tuna potato for my lunch! (This simple recipe is described on my geography of food page, at the bottom.)

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