(Sole) meunière for the JC100

This week’s recipe is one that those of us familiar with Julia Child’s life have been waiting for:  Filets of Sole Meuniere, Julia’s first-ever meal in France, from The Way to Cook.  In My Life in France, Julia described the sole as “a morsel of perfection” and “the most exciting meal” of her life.  It was this simple preparation of sole that inspired  Julia’s 40-year love affair with food and the start of a cooking revolution in America.

It’s quite amazing I managed to make this and post about it this week – given I only received the recipe late Monday.  It’s the final days of school, I am headed to Puebla today with the Mexico Tourism Board and then have two days once I get back before I leave for France for the summer.  Plus, I am not much of a fish eater but I couldn’t NOT make this, Julia’s epiphany of a dish.

In actual fact, I used tilapia, not sole because that’s what was in the store where I was yesterday. With no time to shop around for sole, I took what I could get.  I cut the tilapia fillets into small pieces and amidst my frenetic packing, cleaning and generally getting organised, I ate two of the smaller fillets for a quick dinner on a hot evening. It was perfect. Subtle. Simple. Tasty. So few ingredients. So easy. So good.

Fillets of sole meunière

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins

The dish that changed Julia Child's life. Excerpted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child. Copyright © 1989 by Julia Child. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc

Yields 6


  • 6 skinless and boneless sole or other thin fish fillets, all of a size 4 to 6 oz each and 2/8 inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup or so flour in a plate
  • About 4 tablespoons clarified butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Dry the fish, remove any bones, score, trim and flatten it. Lay it out on a sheet of wax paper.
  2. Dust the fillets lightly on each side with salt and pepper. The moment before sautéing, rapidly drip each into the flour to coat both sides, and shake off the excess.
  3. Set a heavy non-stick frying pan over a high heat and film with 1/16 inch of the clarified butter. When the butter is very hot but not browning, rapidly lay in as many fillets as will fit easily, leaving a little space between each.
  4. Sauté a minute or two on one side, turn carefully so as not to break the fillet, and sauté a minute or two on the other side.
  5. The fish is done when just springy rather than squashy to the touch of your finger.
  6. Immediately remove from pan to warm plates or a platter.
  7. Sprinkle each fillet with parsley.
  8. Wipe the frying pan clean, set over high heat, and add the fresh butter; heat until bubbling and pour over the fillets - the parsley will bubble up nicely.
  9. Decorate with lemon wedges and serve at once.


Would I make this again? Absolutely. Even for a non-fish lover like myself, it was a hit. I *get* where Julia saw the excitement in this. Simple ingredients. Complex flavours. (and yes, Mr Neil, there are leftovers for your lunches!)


* Culinary icon Julia Child would have turned 100 years old on August 15th of this year. To honor her, the folks at YC Media and Random House/ Alfred A. Knopf are launching the JC100: an international campaign involving restaurants, chefs, bookstores, and bloggers, all celebrating Julia and her legacy. Their goal is to raise one million voices in tribute to Julia, and I am honoured to participate!


Follow the JC 100 on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JuliaChild
Tumblr: http://jc100.tumblr.com/
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/knopfbooks/jc100/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/JC100

, , , ,

28 Responses to (Sole) meunière for the JC100

  1. Jue June 20, 2012 at 05:41 #

    Huhu…Looks like delicious…hehheh

  2. Geoff June 20, 2012 at 07:39 #

    It does look great Mardi.
    Perhaps, given it was JC’s “epiphany” dish, soul meuniere was not too much of a stretch.
    The pics do the dish justice.

    • Mr. Neil June 21, 2012 at 07:59 #

      Mr. Neil wants to know….was “soul” intentional, or Freudian? 😉

      • Geoff June 23, 2012 at 01:23 #

        Mr Neil knows me well enough to know I’m a pedant… soul was intentional.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 4, 2012 at 15:31 #

      Thank you so much!

  3. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel June 20, 2012 at 08:17 #

    They turned out so gorgeous! I’m completely jealous of your summer plans!! Have a blast 🙂

  4. Lisa June 20, 2012 at 09:31 #

    Yum! I hope Puebla is an awesome trip, enjoy!

  5. Viviane Bauquet Farre June 20, 2012 at 09:50 #

    Very elegant in its simplicity. The pan presentation is quite attractive and those lemons are just begging to be squeezed all over! Well done!

  6. David @ Frenchie and the Yankee June 20, 2012 at 10:22 #

    Looks delicious! I have yet to post for JC100. Soon. I will do this in July I think.

  7. Coco June 20, 2012 at 12:25 #

    Meuniere is delish and this fish looks wicked good!

  8. Kelly June 20, 2012 at 14:51 #

    Ohh I love that you made one of Julia Child’s dishes, this looks fantastic! 🙂

  9. idiosyncratic eye June 20, 2012 at 16:59 #

    Unless you really loathe something, then you only just haven’t found the right dish for it yet. It’s worth it to keep trying something in different combinations. I’ll bear this simple combination in mind, I’ve only tried something like this with far too much flour to fish so maybe I need to try again too! 🙂

  10. Marina@ Picnic at Marina June 20, 2012 at 18:26 #

    Easy and delicious. Truly “the most exciting meal”, I think sole is the best fish ever. 🙂

  11. K A B L O O E Y June 20, 2012 at 22:19 #

    I love how distinctly i hear Julia Child’s voice when I read “squashy” and “the parsley will bubble up nicely.” How cool is that? Have a fantastic time, Mardi. I wish I could stow away in your luggage.

  12. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction June 22, 2012 at 11:47 #

    I have actually tried this one before, and I love it! Not being much of a fish person myself, it is always a nice change to have a fish recipe that I really enjoy.

    And, I have to say… Your photos of the dish look beautiful!


  1. Mardi traces her fish with thisfish.info | Sobeys Blog - October 16, 2012

    […] about that “meunière-style” preparation? I’ve made Julia Child’s recipe before, you can use sole (I used tilapia when I last tried the recipe). I am excited to try it again with […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.