Monday, March 25, 2013

Dover Sole Almondine with Brussels Sprouts

I am currently trying to wean myself from too much dairy in my diet.  I have been mildly lactose intollerant for years (which is no surprise given that my Chinese mother is violently lactose intollerant) but I think when I hit 30 it started getting worse.  Or maybe it started getting worse when I started drinking cappuchinos to keep myself awake in the afternoon after working all night.  I have discovered that coffee is a very sneaky dairy delivery system.  I have been trying to cut back on the cappuchinos (or switch over to soy milk in my cappuchinos, even though I think the taste of soy milk leaves a lot to be desired), but I'm also trying to cut out more gratuitous dairy.  The first things I thought about cutting are yogurt and Polly-O string cheese.  I know that the probiotics in yogurt are supposedly good for you, but eating a yogurt a day for breakfast might not be the best move if you're lactose intollerant.  And it's not like I love the taste of yogurt (whereas I do love the taste of Polly-o and a lot of other cheeses) so it seemed like a relatively painless sacrifice to make.  I'm in the process of trying to find good dairy-free yogurts and that effort has taken me to Fairway, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.  Not surprisingly I discovered that most of our local markets don't stock many dairy-free options.  Thus far I have discovered the following - I do not like the taste of soy yogurt, some coconut yogurts have a really weird texture but taste okay (whereas some have a weird texture and taste), and almond yogurts seem to be the best of the bunch (at least for me).  I tried Almond Dream's low-fat strawberry and coconut yogurts over the weekend and thought both of them were pretty decent.  So Delicious also makes some almond milk yogurts that I thought were pretty good, but they are harder to find. 

While on my dairy-free yogurt hunt I decided to hit the fish counter at Whole Foods and ended up with these Dover sole filets and some cod filets.  And then I had to figure out what I wanted to do with my Dover sole that would be light and fresh and springy, but still hearty enough to withstand the neverending winter.  With spring stubbornly refusing to appear, I really needed something reminiscent of the warm temperatures and the good times to come.  Did I mention that it is currently snowing outside?  It's late March.  I mean honestly.  I settled on sole almondine because it is easy and quick and I think delicate fish like sole benefit from very simple preparations.  Dredging sole filets in flour and then sauteing in butter and topping with a squeeze of lemon is a very classic preparation for a reason - it just tastes good.  We have been eating a ton of kale lately (and I was already planning on serving a kale salad with the cod) so I wanted to use another vegetable that would still be seasonally appropriate, but would allow me to mix things up a little.  Brussels sprouts seemed like a good fit.  Rather than roasting the sprouts I decided to shred and saute them because pairing such a delicate fish with hunks of roasted brussels sounded weird.  I don't have a ton to say about this dish, except that it was nice, easy and tasty.  It was also perfectly springy.  I liked the combination of the browned butter and almonds with the delicate fish and the sauteed Brussels sprouts.  I also liked the brightness and flavor from the white wine and lemon juice.  It is a very simple dish, but sometimes I like simple.

Recipe after the jump!

Dover Sole Almondine with Brussels Sprouts

2 tbsp vegetable oil, separated

10 oz shredded Brussels Sprouts (we used our mandoline, but you can buy them preshredded at Trader Joe's)
2 Dover sole fillets (ours weighed about 3 oz each)
all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsalted butter, separated
2 tbsp sliced almonds
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp white wine

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and swirl to coat.  Add Brussels sprouts and season lightly with s&p.  Saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a warm platter and set aside.  Wipe out the skillet.   

While the Brussels sprouts are sauteing, pat fish dry and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Lightly dredge filets in flour, knocking off any excess.  Set aside.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat.  Add remaining 1 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tbsp butter.  Wait until foam subsides before adding the fish. Cook fish, flipping carefully once, until browned and just cooked through, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes total.  Add fish to platter with Brussels sprouts.
Reduce heat to medium-low. If a lot of oil/butter remains in the pan, discard all but 1 tbsp.  Add almonds and remaining 1 tbsp butter and cook, stirring, until almonds and butter are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and white wine.  Season with s&p.  Spoon almond mixture over fish and Brussels sprouts.


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