Baked Sole with Vegetable-Bread Crumb Stuffing

Baked Sole with Vegetable-Bread Crumb Stuffing

This recipe was excerpted from Great Fish Quick by Leslie Revsin

4 servings
Prep and cooking time 40-45 minutes

The first time I made this stuffing, I put my basic pantry vegetables and a few forsaken Portobello mushroom stems in it, and I liked it. If you've got sweet peppers dying to be used, or some summer squash, or a little bit of cabbage, or scallions, or herbs, or . . . use them. You can play around with this stuffing and clean out your vegetable crisper at the same time! Just remember, if you use watery veggies (like mushrooms or summer squash), cook off their excess liquid during the initial saute to keep the stuffing from becoming too soggy. I like it best with gray sole--the fillets are pure white with a slight firmness that is particularly satisfying with the softness of the golden-colored stuffing. The stuffing is also good between very thin slices of salmon or crumbled over crab meat or scallops that have been seasoned, moistened with olive oil, and put in a casserole to bake.

  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced carrot
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind, or 1/4 teaspoon dried lemon peel
  • Approximately 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth + a little more if necessary
  • Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper to taste
  • Four 5- or 6-ounce gray or other sole fillets, or eight 3-ounce fillets
Optional: 2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf or curly parsley

Preheat the oven to 425F

Place the vegetables in the bowl of a food processor and chop them fine, 20 to 30 seconds. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium-size skillet over medium heat and add the chopped veggies. Season them with salt and pepper and sauté them, stirring occasionally, until they are crisp-tender and any excess mushroom liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat at any point if the veggies are starting to stick in the pan. (They can be made ahead to this point. But don't chop them without cooking them--the food processor makes the onion begin to smell and taste like "gasoline," but immediate cooking prevents that.) Turn off the heat, stir in the thyme, dill, and lemon rind and scrape the vegetables into a medium-size mixing bowl.

Lightly stir in the bread crumbs until well combined. The stuffing should be moist and hold together. If it's too dry, drizzle a little broth over it. If it seems wet, add another teaspoon or so of crumbs. Season the stuffing with salt and pepper and let it cool while you prepare the fillets. (Or you can make the stuffing 2 to 3 days ahead and refrigerate it, the flavor will improve.*)

Pat the fillets dry with paper towels and lightly season both sides with salt and fresh pepper. Lay the fillets out flat on the counter with their round side down. Evenly spread a quarter of the stuffing over each flat side, patting it on with dampened fingers. Fold the tails over the wide ends of the fillets to make 4 triangular-shape packets, each about 1" thick. Or divide the stuffing into 8 portions and prepare the small fillets in the same manner.

Turn the fillets over and place them, round side up, in a baking pan that's large enough to hold them in one layer with at least 1/2" of space around each fillet. Drizzle them with the 2 tablespoons of chicken broth and dot them with the 2 teaspoons of butter broken into little pieces. Bake the fillets until they're white and opaque throughout, 10 to 12 minutes (several minutes less if you're using small fillets). To check, make a slit in the thickest part of one folded edge. Remove the fillets to warm dinner plates, allowing 2 per person if they're small, and pour the pan juices into a small skillet. Boil the juices down over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they've thickened slightly and taste good.

To serve: Drizzle the fillets with the juices, sprinkle them with the chopped parsley, if using, and serve right away.

*You can stuff the fillets while the stuffing is still slightly warm if you bake them immediately. If you plan to refrigerate them, allow the stuffing to cool completely before using it.

Excerpted from GREAT FISH, QUICK by Leslie Revsin Copyright© 1997 by Leslie Revsin. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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