Heart and Sole

Over the 20-some years (for reals) Tygh and I have been together, he has gotten me some truly thoughtful gifts.  Some have been bigger, monumental items, while others have been little tokens he's found randomly that he knew I would like.  He is the definition of a great gift giver because he almost always chooses things I want, but wouldn't necessarily splurge on for myself. 

He's also not stupid.  Meaning, if he has a chance to buy me a gift he knows I will love, but from which he will also benefit, he goes all out.  Think: sports gear, dinner dates, nights away, bedroom, uh, decor, etc.

So, coming up on our 12th anniversary, I really wasn't too sure what to expect.  This wasn't a big "0" or "5" anniversary.  And, truth be told, I was on call for the actual night, so getting away didn't seem likely. 

But, then, he handed me this huge, heavy package.  From a favorite kitchen store.  And watched as I tore open the paper in that way only children and greedy adults can do.

Turns out, Dude went copper.  As in, he bought me my very first copper fry pan.  I'm not sure "squeal" adequately describes the sound I made (can a woman in her mid thirties squeal?), but it was damn close.  

Things were hectic during the following few weeks of August (ok, when are they not) and we were hardly around on the weekends, so it was a full month before I got to take that baby out for a spin.  And what better than a little fish to see how well it could truly perform?

Fish. Ah, fish.  It's a funny thing, isn't it?  It's hard to beat when done right - but when done poorly, it's enough to send even the most supportive diners running.  Plus, it's often expensive, to boot, which means it's hard to experiment with.  So, in the interest of testing the pan, and not a new recipe, I pulled out one of my tried-and-trues.  Equally great for a crowd or for two, this pan-seared fish whips up in less than 15 minutes and goes perfectly with nothing more than crusty bread and a simple salad. 

Since that fateful night, I've seared all sorts of shit in my new baby.  And it just flies - heating and cooling almost instantaneously with the change of the flame and cooking the food so evenly, it's the stuff dreams are made of.  Ok, the stuff my dreams are made of.

Which brings me back to Tygh.  Sure, we are a hot mess sometimes - kids, jobs, and life's every day stresses will do that to any marriage - and, obvi, copper pans don't buy happiness.  But, I love that he gets what makes me tick and that he works to support my hobbies and passions at every turn.  His gifts always remind me that he is paying attention, that I am important, and that I am loved. Which pretty much makes up for that time he tried to go on a run while I was in active labor.  

Sole Meunière

Sole is such a mild, white fish, the star here ends up being the brown butter sauce lightened with lemon juice, a key note if you are trying to please a picky eater. More importantly, you don't need a fancy pan to make this dish turn out beautifully. 

Serves 2-3

For the fish:

1/2 cup all purpose flour

4 sole fillets, whether Dover/common or American (each about 3 to 4 ounces)

Coarse kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

For the sauce:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Lemon wedges

For the fish:

Pour the flour into a shallow baking dish or pie plate.  Add freshly grated pepper and salt. Dredge fish on both sides with flour, gently shaking off excess.  Place on a platter.

Heat oil in large fry pan or skillet over medium-high heat until it is hot and shimmering. Add butter; quickly swirl pan to coat. When foam subsides, add fish and cook until golden on bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn fish over and cook until opaque in center and golden on bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide fish among warmed place or put on one lagre warmed platter; tent with foil.

For the sauce:

Pour off drippings from pan and wipe with paper towels.

Place pan over medium-high heat. Add butter; cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and lemon juice (sauce may sputter). Spoon sauce over fish. Serve topped with chopped parsley and lemon wedges.

Adapted from Epicurious