Filet de Sole Marie Walewska

Filet de Sole Marie Walewska

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Credit: Peter Timmins, CMC
Sizzle, Spring 2008

From the Chef

“An Escoffier recipe, named after Napoleon Bonaparte's Polish mistress, the recipe set out by Escoffier is all of five lines. But in those five lines, he calls out a few of the fundamentals of classical cookery: poach, fumet, Mornay.”


2 whole Dover soles
Ice Water
Pinch of salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 oz, butter, divided and more as needed
1 medium shallot, finely diced
2 parsley stems
1 thyme sprig
2 oz vermouth or dry whtie win
Water to cover
4 grams heavy cream
2 grams grated Parmesan
1 gram lobster butter (optional)
1 egg yolk
8 langoustine
8 black -truffle slices
Fleurons for garnish


1. Skin sole by lifting skin on tail and pulling it toward head. You small knife or thumbnail to raise skin. (You may use salt and dry cloth to increase grip). Clean blood or debris from stomach pouch. Remove fillets from bones, trim; reserve trimmings for fumet. Place fillets in ice water with pinch of salt and juice from 1/2 lemon. Remove fish head; reserve bones for fumet.

2. to make fumet, in thick-bottomed sauteuse, combine 1 oz butter, shallot, parsley stems, thyme, bones (broken into thirds) and sole trimmings. Cover with buttered parchment lid. Place on very low heat. When bones begin to turn white and extrude their juices, add vermouth and enough water to cover. Turn up heat to medium; poach for 15-20 minutes. Strain; reserve liquid (fumet).

To assemble fish:
1. Butter thick -bottomed sauteuse. Fold sole fillets into thirds. Place in pan. Cover fillets 2/3 with fumet; top with buttered parchment. Poach gently for 12 minutes, ensuring liquid never boils. Remove fillets; drain on paper towel. Hold warm and covered.

2. To make money sauce. reduce fumet. Add cream; reduce to light-coating consistency; remove from heat.

3. Add parmesan; whisk until melted. (Optional: Add Lobster butter.) Whisk in egg yolk (you may add 1 T of cream to ensue the egg doesn't scramble.)

4. Remove langoustine tails from shell; stew lightly in 1 oz butter. Slice in half lengthwise.

To finish:
Place fillets in center of plate; glaze under salamander. Drape Mornay sauce over fish. Surround with langoustine tails and slices of truffle. You may decorate plate with fleurons (tiny crescent-shaped pieces of puff pastry)


Main Dish, Seafood, Sizzle

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