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Oct 18, 2008 10:59 AM


I was trying to make sole piccata last night for the first time. It's a simple recipe. Dredge the sole in seasoned flour, sautee in olive oil, remove fish from pan, add butter, saute shallots and garlic, deglaze pan with wine, heat lemon juice, and capers, reduce and drizzle over sole and serve.

I patted the sole dry before dredging, heated the pan and oil first, and I didn't crowd the pan when cooking the sole. I cooked it in two batches.

Well, my sole didn't turn a golden brown and it fell apart as I turned it. The taste was ok but it's looks were bleh at the best. Any idea why this happened or what I can do to fix it?

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  1. To facilitate browning, I think you shoud have added a little butter to the olive oil when you sauteed the fish. Also you might not have let it cook long enough.

    1. Agree that a little butter will help the browning. Also, the pan may need to be hotter as well.

      1. Maybe the pan wasn't hot enough?

        I don't dredge in flour (though that does help with browning) and use fridge cold fish (almost frozen).
        I heat my pan on high heat. Pat fish dry. Then saute' on one side for 2 minutes, covered (and this creates a kind of "sear" that keeps the gentle fish together and browns. ) After 2 minutes, I turn off the heat (gas heat - if electric remove pan from burner) and let it sit for two minutes, covered.

        Then remove fish from pan sliding onto a plate with spatula - let it sit on the spatula while pan heats again. Reheat pan to high heat and flip fish in to cook the second side for 2 minutes. (time varies depending on the thickness of fish, but 2 minutes is about right for most cuts I've seen) You can flip fish into the pan, but the plate move is a surer bet of not breaking the fish (falling apart).

        Anyway, maybe your pan was not hot enough.

        1. Flaky fish are always tricky to flip. Try using an extra wide spatula. I have one that works great with fish and pancakes.

          1. I find sole, very delicate to work with.

            My guess would agree with the others, pan not hot enough. Add butter.