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)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, separated
2 tbsp sliced almonds
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp white wine
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.