I am a child of the 60’s and 70’s and as we lived quite a long way from shops, we rarely ate fresh fish. But very occasionally we visited a ‘posh’ cafe in town & were allowed to choose exactly what we wanted to eat. Without fail I always chose sole, peas & sautés potatoes. Such a treat!
For 2 people
2 sole (or other white flatfish) fillets
Knob of unsalted butter
2 large shallots, peeled & finely chopped
200ml dry white wine
500ml fish or vegetable stock
Pinch of saffron
For the veloute sauce
Heat the butter in a wide pan & add the shallots. Sauté gently for 5-10 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the wine, bring to the boil & allow to bubble vigorously until reduced by 2/3rds.
Add the stock & saffron to the pan, return to the boil & reduce by a half. Pour in the cream & add the honey.
Bring to a simmer & let simmer until the sauce has the consistency of double cream. Season & pass through a sieve.
Cool & put in the fridge until needed, then reheat gently.
For the fish
Pan fry the sole fillets in rapeseed oil and or butter & serve with the veloute. NB sole could just as easily be steamed. Any flat fish could be substituted for the sole.
Our real life tudor recipe inspiration:
From Sir Hugh Plat’s “Delightes for Ladies”, 1602
‘To boyle a flounder* of the French fashion. Take a pinte of white wine, the tops of young time and rosemary’s little whole mace, a little whole pepper seasoned with verjuice, salt, and a peece of sweete butter, and so serve it: this broth will serve to boyle Fish twice or thrise in.’
*a flounder is a name given to flatfish such as sole, plaice, fluke, dab or halibut.