We spent this last weekend at my parents’ house in Napa, and basically spent two full days and nights eating and drinking our way to merriment and fulfillment. BBQ’d ribs one night with my mom’s famous BBQ sauce, ribeye steaks the other with sauteed mushrooms. And the wine! Wine tasting both days and great wines with dinner too (a soon-to-come post will be of great wineries to visit in Napa!). After this feasting extravaganza, I felt like a fish dinner was in order…something lighter, but still mouth watering. Which of course means butter. I decided to make a petrale sole with a buerre blanc seasoned with tarragon, and serve it with those lovely skinny French green beans (haricots verts) and some smashed yukon gold potatoes.
Buerre blanc is essentially a sauce made with a reduction of wine and vinegar, with a good amount of butter added in a bit at a time for a rich, smooth and sinfully delicious sauce. A little goes a long way, so used sparingly, this doesn’t have to be an overindulgence nor a heartstopping delicacy. Here is the recipe I used for the sole (serves 4):
1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
2 cups dry white wine
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
5 whole black peppercorns
10 Tbsp butter (1 stick + 2 Tbsp), cold and cut into 1 Tbsp pieces
salt to taste
1.5 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, separated
2 additional Tbsp butter (for the fish)
1.5 lb fresh petrale sole filets
Put the shallots, wine, vinegar and peppercorns in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Keep at a high simmer until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup (around 15 minutes). Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the butter once piece at a time, adding the next only when the last has completely melted into the sauce and stirring frequently.
While adding the butter to the sauce, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Melt the butter and when foaming has subsided, add the fish filets, and season top with salt & pepper. Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes and flip the filets. Season the other side with salt & pepper and cook until done, about another 2 minutes.
Taste the sauce and season with salt as desired, and then stir in 1 Tbsp of the tarragon. Remove from heat and serve immediately drizzled over the fish. Sprinkle the top with additional chopped tarragon.