Published March 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.
Delicate sole demands precise timing and a gentle touch. Was there a way to roll those requirements into a more fail-safe approach?
Most baking recipes for sole fillets are uninspired (coated with plain bread crumbs), overwrought (wrapped artfully around blanched asparagus), or both (en papillote with zucchini).
We wanted a fuss-free, foolproof recipe that was suitable for a weeknight dinner yet impressive and elegant enough to serve to company.
Instead of baking the fillets flat on a baking sheet, we found that rolling them into compact bundles eased the transport from baking dish to plate. We covered the baking dish with foil to protect the delicate fish from the drying heat of the oven.
To ramp up the fillet’s mild flavor, we slathered Dijon mustard over each one; seasoned them with salt, pepper, minced fresh herbs, and lemon zest; and drizzled them with melted butter and garlic. Then we rolled them up, drizzled them with more butter, and baked them.
Finally, to improve the dish’s texture, we added some minced herbs to a mixture of toasted panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs) and butter and added them to the sole in two intervals. We removed the foil before the fish was done cooking, basted the fillets with pan juices, topped them with most of the bread-crumb mixture, and then returned them to the oven uncovered. Just before serving, we sprinkled the remaining crumbs over the fillets. This way, most of the crumbs fused to the fish, and the final showering offered delicate crispness.list of recipes