I recently finished reading My Life in France by Julia Child and her nephew, Alex Prud'homme. The memoir of Julia and Paul Child's experiences in Paris and beyond was even more charming than Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci's portrayal of the pair in Julie & Julia. I didn't think that was possible, but it simply was. I read page after page of a love story that garned legitimate envy from me, and then there was Julia's epiphany that she belonged in a kitchen, not a prison of a kitchen that held captive many American wives at the time, but a veritable rabbit hole of a kitchen offering challenge and triumph as she fell deeper and deeper into the culinary world. And just as the movie captured Julia's infatuation with butter upon her first taste of sole meuniere, the book also convinced me that this dish of fish was one I simply had to try. Enter in Ina Garten. How fitting that my Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics cookbook just happened to have a recipe for Easy Sole Meuniere. I quickly decided that this would be my first recipe of the month. Fast forward to last Thursday when I embarked on my own journey into the glories of butter. The dish's ingredient list is succinct, the cooking time next to nothing. My stock of Dover sole hailed from the wonderland of Trader Joe's, and I paid a mere $5.40 for about 8 filets of sole! Granted, the fish is quite thin, but I was still proud of such economic value. After thawing the frozen filets in the fridge for over 48 hours (yes, it took that long, and yes, it's safe to do that), I assembled the ingredients to create this classic French dish. The first batch wasn't as good as the second (I'm vying for pancake theory here), but nonetheless, tasty. I will say that if you don't like lemon, you might want to cut the zest a bit. I even think a decrease would be a good idea, as two teaspoons was verging on overpowering. Still, this was a plate of simple fish goodness, and I do recommend it for you seafood lovers out there. Before taking a bite, take a nice long whiff and like Meryl's Julia, say "butter." You'll be glad you did.Video and Recipe). Disregard the four star rating: This soup won me over. I had a few precarious moments, like thinking I was burning the leeks when really, those brown bits are all part of the roasting preparation, contributing necessary depth of flavor. I also watched my food processor wage war with chicken broth. The broth won, and the food processor can blame me. I know now it's important to heed the line that says "liquid limit." Despite a mess of dishes and a distinct smell of chicken broth emanating from the floor, this soup was DELICIOUS and worth every minute of prep work. There's just something about white wine and cream that says comfort. I tip my hat once again to Trader Joe's for affordably providing one of the more obscure ingredients, creme fraiche. And since that certain groundhog says we'll have six more weeks of cold weather, I recommend this soup to chase the winter doldrums away. One disclaimer: I had a horrific time trying to make the garnish of crispy shallots. I accept responsibility for not taking her temperature suggestions seriously (as in I don't have a candy thermometer, so I just guessed), but still, how hard can it be to fry onions? Quite hard, apparently. So, I didn't accompany the soup with the suggested shallots, but I did utilize the extra baby arugula to make a side salad dressed with my very own balsamic vinaigrette, complete with Dijon mustard. I'm now convinced, John and Susie, making homemade dressing really is easy!
recipe I plan on using if you feel so inclined, and if you can, take some time to peruse the Beantown Baker's site. She's doing great stuff.
Happy Valentine's Day!