I love a nice thick fish fillet (see here, here, and here), but it’s really hit-or-miss if I can find fish that’s worth cooking. Much more common are those thin little fillets, like sole or flounder, but they can be unsatisfying. Today’s recipe rolls those ubiquitously available thin fillets into a delicious meal. The mild flavor of the fish is boosted by the butter, herbs and seasoned bread crumbs. The recipe bakes the fish in a slow oven, so it remains moist and delicate. My only complaint is that the recipe calls for too much bread crumbs. While the bread crumbs are delicious, I found myself eating spoonfuls of leftover bread crumbs, they over-power the delicate flavor of the fish. My suggestion would be to only lightly cover the fish in step 7. Overall, 4-stars.
- If your store’s flounder fillets look better than the sole, they also work well in this recipe.
- Ideally your fillets should be of similar size. If using smaller fillets (about 3 ounces each), you will need 2 fillets per person. You will also need to reduce the baking time in step 5 to 20 minutes.
- Fresh basil or dill can be used in place of the tarragon.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess? Low/Medium.
Start time 4:30 PM. Dinner time 5:30 PM.
Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared it today are given below:
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon finely grated zest from 1 lemon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium garlic cloves, either minced or pressed through garlic press (2 teaspoons)
6 boneless, skinless sole fillets (about 2 pounds)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
Lemon wedges (from zested lemon) for serving
- Set a rack to the middle of your oven and preheat to 325-degrees. Mince your parsley leaves, chives, and tarragon leaves and put them together in small bowl. Stir to combine and set aside 1 tablespoon herb mixture for bread crumbs. Mix in lemon zest into remaining herbs.
- Place an 8″ skillet over medium burner, add 4 tablespoons butter. When butter has just melted, press 1 clove garlic directly into skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until for 1 minutes. Set skillet aside, leaving garlic butter still in skillet.
- Use paper towels to pat fish dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
- To prepare your fish, working with one filet at a time. Lay fish skinned side up with tail end pointing away from you. Spread 1/2 teaspoon Dijon onto each fillet, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon herb–lemon-zest mixture, and 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic butter. Roll fillets up tightly beginning with the thick end; forming cylinders. Arrange fillets seam side down in 13″x9″ baking dish.Repeat with remaining fillets.
- Drizzle the remaining garlic-butter over fillets, cover baking dish with aluminum foil, and bake at 325-degrees for 25 minutes. Wipe skillet out but don’t wash.
- While fillets are baking, add 1 tablespoon butter to now-empty skillet and melt over medium burner. Add 2/3 cup panko and cook for 6 to 7 minutes until crumbs become deeply golden brown, stirring frequently. Turn down burner to low, saute second clove of pressed garlic for 1 minute. Empty into a small bowl and add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool, then stir in reserved tablespoon herb mixture. Cut lemon into wedges for serving.
- After fillets have baked 25 minutes, remove baking dish from oven. Use a spoon to baste fillets with melted garlic butter from bottom of the baking dish, sprinkle with all but 3 tablespoons bread crumbs (use your judgement as to how much bread crumbs to add). Continue to bake for 6 to 10 minutes more, uncovered, until internal temperature reaches 135-degrees. Using thin metal spatula, move 1 to 2 fillets to each individual serving plates, sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs. Serve with lemon wedges.