Why this dish – which is basically sole meuniére with vegetables – should be called sole Murat is one of those little mysteries that makes the terminology of the French professional kitchen: (a) endearing, (b) insufferably pretentious.
Murat was for a time Napoleon’s favourite general. A small man, he was famous for going into battle armed with a whip with which he used to flog the retreating foot soldiers from his superior position on horseback. Perhaps he celebrated his victories with fried soles, noisette butter and a garnish of diced artichoke bottoms and diced potatoes.
Strip the leaves from the artichokes, cut away the choke hairs and any stalk. Cut the bottoms into dice and reserve. Peel and dice the potatoes.
Put 2 frying pans over a medium heat. Season the soles and dust them with flour. Put
Dust the tomato slices with flour, season them well and fry them in a little more oil over a high heat until browned on both sides. Place 2 tomato slices on each fish.
Wipe out the pan with kitchen paper. Put in the remaining butter, place over a moderate heat and, as it just begins to go brown, pour it over the fish. To finish, squeeze over some lemon juice and scatter the chopped parsley over the dish.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.