When I first looked at this recipe, it looked quite complicated not to mention a little intimidating to me but it sounded so good that I had to try it. However, I sometimes have trouble remembering my name or how to work my microwave so… I beg you to try it. It’s worth every single moment of brain damage! This recipe will make enough for 4 main course servings or 8 servings as a first course. For me, it seems to be a heck of a lot of work to serve as a first course. I’d be exhausted before desert!

  • 8 sole fillets of equal size
  • 1 one-pound can whole-pack  tomatoes,  or 3 whole tomatoes,
  • peeled,(see * for peeling tomatoes for Canlis salad
  • recipe) seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, washed and quartered
  • 3 TBS. chopped parsley
  • 2 TBS. chopped shallots
  • 1 TBS. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 TBS. roux*, to thicken
  • 1 TBS. chopped parsley to garnish

*Roux is a mixture of butter and flour cooked together to remove any raw floury taste. It is used for thickening sauces. Combine in a heavy saucepan 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup all-purpose flour. Cook the mixture over very low heat, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Be careful not to scorch the flour or it will not perform properly. Make it ahead of time and store it in the freezer so it is ready whenever you want it. It is not necessary to thaw it before adding it to boiling liquid as directed.

Fold the sole fillets in half, silvery side in, and place them in a single layer in a buttered skillet.  This may be done early in the day if your skillet is of stainless steel or is porcelainized  – the use of other metals will spoil the flavor of the fish. If using the canned tomatoes, drain them well and chop them coarsely, reserving the liquid for another use. Cover the fillets with all the ingredients except the cream and the roux. Cover the skillet with a circle of buttered wax paper with a small hole cut in the center.(I just butter the top of my porcelain  skillet and leave it a bit ajar while cooking.) This process allows the liquid to reduce in cooking while allowing the fish to steam and remain moist. About 30 minutes before serving, bring the contents of the skillet to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer gently for 5 minutes  or so, until you can pierce the fish easily with a fork. Remove the fillets carefully from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon, letting as much liquid as possible drain back into the skillet. Place the fillets on a platter or serving dish that can go under the broiler. Remove all of the tomatoes and mushrooms from the skillet with a slotted spoon and arrange them on top of the fish. Set the fish into a low (about 225 degree) oven with one end of the dish higher than the other (a piece of tin foil rolled into a tube will accomplish this easily). The excess liquid will drain to one end where it can be easily spooned out to prevent it from thinning your finished sauce.

Turn the heat as high as possible under the skillet and reduce the poaching liquid to about one-third  its original  volume. Add only 1 cup of the cream and set the other half cup in the refrigerator in a small mixing bowl. Add about 3 TBS. of the roux to the liquid in the skillet, little by little, while beating with a wire whisk. Be very sure to let the liquid come to a boil after each addition of the roux. Keep adding and stirring until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon rather heavily, then remove from the heat. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add some more cayenne, lemon juice and salt if it needs it. The flavor should be quite tangy, because the final addition of cream will dull it a bit.

Whip the remaining 1/2 cup of cream until it holds its shape, then fold it carefully  into the sauce. This process is called glacage, or “glazing.” The whipped cream makes the sauce brown and puff beautifully when placed under the broiler.

Just before coating the fish with the sauce, be sure you spoon or blot out any liquid that has drained to the end of the serving dish. Then pour the sauce over the fish and slide the whole thing under the broiler for just a few seconds, until lightly browned. Watch it very carefully so that it doesn’t burn. Sprinkle 1 TBS. of chopped parsley over the top and serve immediately.


This dish must be prepared just before serving. You may assemble all the necessary ingredients, placing the fish and its cooking liquid in a stainless steel or porcelainized skillet in the morning. Set it, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

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