Pan-Fried Sole with Lemon Garlic Butter


This sauce is also very good over a grilled (broiled) chicken breast or steak. You can make as much or as little of it as you need, but I try to have at least two generous tablespoons per serving. Your fishmonger should be able to skin the fish when he guts them (and you can use different fish, if you prefer). It’s best to decide beforehand how you are going to serve the sole — you can cook them ready-filleted, or cook them whole and serve with sauce spooned over and let everyone fillet their own on their plate. They come away from the bone easily, but it’s still always worth double-checking for tiny missed bones. They do look impressive served whole — so often I serve them like that, then move the fish to a clean empty plate, quickly fillet it and return the fillets to the plate of sauce. You will need to work quickly, so have everything ready before you start.



  • 40 g( oz) butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed a bit
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • about 4 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 whole sole, about 200 g(7 oz) each, skinned and gutted
  • 30 g(1 oz) butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley


For the sauce, put the butter and garlic in a small pan and cook over medium heat until sizzling. Add the paprika, season well with salt, and sizzle a bit more so that the flavours mingle. When it starts looking a bit golden brown, add the lemon juice and cook for a minute longer. Keep warm.

Sprinkle the flour over a plate and lightly pat both sides of the fish in it. Heat the butter in a large non-stick frying pan and add the fish. Cook over medium–high heat until their undersides are nicely golden. Sprinkle with salt and then gently flip them over. Salt the cooked side and fry until the new underside is golden. Cover the pan with a lid now and cook for a few minutes to make sure the fish are cooked through. If you think there is not enough butter or it is browning too much, then add another blob of butter to the pan. Remove the fish to plates.

Add about 2 tablespoons of your sauce to the frying pan and heat through to collect the pan flavours. Spoon over the fish and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately, with the remaining warm sauce spooned over.