Entertaining is not about perfection, it’s about connection.
It had to happen, a repeat of one of the dinners we prepared during the Foodie Adventure in France, and what better time than the first summer gathering of the Maine gourmet group.
Once again, these subtly tinted wine stems appear and for water, I just happen to have these glasses from Williams Sonoma. Look closely and you will see they have the French word for the fruit that is on the glass.
With the table set, it’s now time to think about the menu. There are so many good recipes from the Foodie Adventure that it’s hard to choose, but a real favorite was Chef Michael’s Herb Breaded Sole Provencal. I don’t think he will mind if I share the recipe.
Herb Breaded Sole Provencal
2 T. plus 1 t. olive oil
8 plum tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
Kosher salt, black and white pepper
4 4 oz. fish filets
1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 c. chopped chives
2 t. Herbes de Provence
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. sliced red onions
2 cloves minced garlic
4 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
1/4 c. coarsely chopped pitted olives (Nicoise, kalamata, etc.)
1 t. Herbes de Provence
1 T. chopped flat leaf parsley
1 T. chopped chives
1/2 lemon, juiced
Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the paper with 1 t. olive oil. Core tomatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Place them cut side up on baking sheet and drizzle with 2 T. olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt, black pepper and Herbes de Provence. Bake for 2 hours.
Burn skin of bell pepper over open flame and place in plastic bag to steam for 3 minutes. Peel away the charred skin. Cut in half, removed seeds and stem. Cut into 1” pieces.
Place filets on plate and sprinkle with salt and white pepper, gently coat with flour. Whisk eggs in a small bowl. In another bowl, combine Panko crumbs and herbs. Dip floured filets into beaten egg, then into herb/crumb mixture. Press mixture into the fish.
Heat large saute pan over medium high heat. Cover bottom with thin layer of olive oil. Gently lay fish in the oil and brown, cooking on one side for about a minute or until crumbs turn light brown. Flip and repeat. Remove fish to cookie sheet and keep warm in 250 oven or warming drawer.
Remove crumbs from pan with paper towels and return it to medium high heat. Add 1/4 c. olive oil and stir in onions and garlic; cook for 30 seconds. Add diced tomatoes, roasted peppers and olives and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in herbs, lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper.
To serve, arrange the fish on a plate and top with the sauce. Surround with oven roasted tomatoes.
I have also tried this recipe with haddock and halibut, and it works great as would any flaky, mild flavored white fish. Part of the secret to the success of the fish is pan frying it, according to Chef Michael. I’m not questioning his advice!
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