Photos: Vic Chin, Video: Vic Chin and Peter Ruocco
One of the highlights of my moving to San Francisco was finding all of the amazing fish available for cooking, and for me, Petrale sole is among the best fishes for eating. Whether whole or filleted, the firm flesh is mild in flavor and delicious when simply prepared with brown butter and lemon. It’s also the perfect foil for partnering with other ingredients, and one of my favorites is with the woodsy flavor of chanterelles. I first tasted the two together with my friend, the French chef Pierre Koffmann.
When preparing the whole fish, remove all of the scales from the Petrale, remove the guts and trim the fins, or have your fishmonger do it for you. Then, wipe down the fish again to make sure it is clean and dry. I also like to score the fish to ensure even cooking — it allows the butter and all of the flavors from the pan to better penetrate the flesh.
This is a quick recipe to make and is an elegant dish when presented on a large platter.
Whole Roasted Petrale Sole with Brown Butter & Chanterelles
Makes 1-2 servings
- 1 whole Petrale sole, head on, scaled and cleaned, about 10 ounces to 1 pound
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- 4 ounces chanterelles
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 8 mint leaves, torn into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450℉. Using paper towels, pat the fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Trim the fins and score the fish along the backbone on each side.
- Heat a large non-stick saute pan over high heat and add the butter. When it is melted and begins to bubble, add the Petrale sole, presentation side down.
- Cook, basting with the butter in the pan until skin is golden and the butter begins to brown, about 2 minutes.
- Turn the fish and baste again. Sprinkle the shallots and chanterelles in the butter next to the fish. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the fish is just opaque, about 4 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and carefully remove any small fin bones with tweezers.
- Using a large spatula, remove the fish from the pan and place on a large platter. You can serve as is or, if you wish, you can remove the large bones, head and tail, carefully, keeping each filet whole.
- In the same pan, stir the remaining chanterelles, shallots and butter together. Add the mint leaves and squeeze lemon juice into the hot pan, stirring to make the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Carefully spoon the sautéed chanterelles over the fish and pour over the lemon butter sauce. Serve immediately.