Sole Meunière

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Four


Appears in

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1969

  • About

One of the most delicious ways to cook fish is in the French style called meunière, pronounced “mern-yehre.” The word meunière means miller’s wife and the dish is so called because the fish is dipped in flour before it is cooked. Almost any fish fillets or small whole fish can be cooked meunière-style, but the fish most commonly cooked that way are sole and trout.

This recipe is for sole meunière. To cook other fish in this manner, simply substitute other fillets or small whole, cleaned fish for the sole.


  • 4 individual servings of lemon or gray sole fillets
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 tablespoons (½ cup; 1 stick) butter
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • Parsley for garnish


  1. Place the sole fillets in a dish, such as a pie plate or baking dish, and add the milk. Let the fish stand in the milk for 30 minutes or longer. If longer, place the dish, covered, in the refrigerator.

  2. Place a length of waxed paper on a kitchen table and spoon the flour onto the paper. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and toss or mix lightly to blend the seasonings and flour.

  3. When ready to cook the fish, lift the fillets from the milk but do not dry at all. The fillets must remain quite wet from the milk. Immediately dip the fillets into the seasoned flour. The fish should be well coated on all sides.

  4. Heat the oil and 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet. When butter is hot, almost smoking, add the fish fillets. Reduce the heat to moderate. Cook the fish until golden-brown on one side, 3 minutes or longer depending on the size of the fish. Now, using a large spatula or pancake turner, gently turn the fish and cook until golden-brown on the other side, 3 minutes or longer. Cut four slices from the lemon and reserve for garnish. Squeeze the remaining lemon.

  5. Carefully transfer the fish to a warm serving platter. Pour lemon juice over all and keep warm in the oven.

  6. Quickly pour the oil from the skillet, taking care not to burn the hands. Wipe out the skillet with absorbent toweling and place the skillet back on the stove. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Let the butter cook until it starts to foam.

  7. Pour the foaming butter over the fish and garnish the platter with the lemon slices and parsley sprigs. Serve with plain boiled, buttered potatoes.