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Sole Ma Femme

Last Tuesday, I was feeling expansive and somewhat idle. I offered to make dinner for Kathleen if she would promise to be home by 10:15. "What would you like?" I asked. Wrong question. Kathleen's mind, her clients ought to be happy to note, was elsewhere.

I pulled down one of my most valuable cookbooks, Gourmet's Quick Kitchen (Condé Nast, 1996), a collection of recipes that yield two servings. Since I was cooking for Kathleen, I knew that I ought to do something with fish, and that the fish ought to be lean. Sole, for example. I found a recipe next to picture of an attractively sauced filet. Chopped olives were a distinct plus, and when I read the recipe and saw that it called for lemon juice, I was sold. Kathleen was going to love this. And indeed she did.

Sole with Citrus and Olive Sauce (Sole Ma Femme).


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If I may suggest...
I recently had a dinner party contretemps; an invited guest warned in advance that she was allergic to the planned main course of soft-shelled crabs. I served her, instead, a piece of red snapper fillet en papillotte, with slivered leeks and sliced tomatoes, salt, pepper and a splash of white white and pat of butter in the olive oiled paper. Quick, easy and delicious with no fish smell in my small apartment. A wonderful presentation with easy cleanup too. Works great for trout as well and you can vary the other ingredients the fish "nests" on in the paper endlessly.

And as for sole, my mother, who never liked to cook but did it, and did it well, because it was expected of her (remember when people did things out of duty?) had a fool-proof sole recipe:

Oil a sheet of foil which has had its edges turned up. Place in broiler. Onto this, lay the sole fillets, nice side up. Brush with melted butter and dust with paprika and a little salt and pepper. Broil till just done (you need to watch and not overcook; less time is better than more) Serve by lifting the foil carefully onto a plate and then slide the fish off the foil onto the plate. Dress with lemon wedges and serve with boiled new potatoes and a lemon butter sauce for both, sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley.

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