I sat before this extraordinary sole, wondering as I chewed each buttery, spright, sumptuous bite of fish, "Why have I never made this dish before...?"
My Sole a la Grenobloise (as prepared in the city of Grenoble, the south-eastern region of France) was pulled from Saveur's 'The Beauty of Butter' special issue, No. 109. The word butter itself was such an obvious, delicious clue to all that might await in the pages, but the pages remained unsmeared by my buttery fingers, until recently. What a simple dish to delight your guests!
Aren't these beautiful sole filets?
Soak your sole in milk, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The recipe is here, and it's not difficult to make, merely astounding to eat. You can purchase the clarified butter required or take a little time to do it yourself as described here. I would add a final spray of lemon over the sole before serving; the shock of acid truly brings the dish to life. Otherwise, serve it with white rice and a side dish of green beans almondine, the basics from geniuskitchen.com found here. Do enjoy!
Sometimes recipes stir me to make something else entirely with them. I was intrigued by a recipe for a fava bean stew, but then I thought of the shrimp we had in the freezer, considered cannellini beans, and wondered how it might all go on top of creamy polenta.
I made the Cyprus fava bean stew, known as Koukkia Kounnes, from Saveur magazine, but tinkered with the recipe (see below,) using a 15.5 oz. can of white cannellini beans instead of favas and used about half the amount of suggested chicken broth. I let it simmer for quite a while, along with the garlic, thyme, onion, and bay leaves, until the liquid all but evaporated--now I had a luscious, fragrant confit of beans!
While the stew slowly simmered, I prepared the polenta. When the polenta was nearly done cooking, I sauteed a dozen thawed shrimp in olive oil with zest from a whole lemon, some smashed garlic, salt and pepper. Once the shrimp were cooked, I removed them with a slotted spoon and covered with foil to keep warm. Reduce the zesty sauce to thicken slightly.
The perfect forkful: spoon your polenta on two plates, and add the confit of beans. Top with shrimp and pour the reduced sauce over that. Get a hold of that fork and dig in! Serves two.
I went rogue in the kitchen, but here is complete stew recipe unadorned, with my suggestions only in italics:
KOUKKIA KOUNNES (FAVA BEAN STEW WITH GARLIC, THYME, &
1 lb. dried fava beans (I
used canned cannellini beans)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more, to taste
6 cloves garlic, quartered
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (I
used only about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (I forgot! But
lemon zest with the shrimp preparation solved that!)
Place the dried fava beans in a bowl or pot, cover with
water by 3″ and let soak for 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Drain the beans and set aside. (Use
canned for time-saving tip!)
Heat a dutch oven over medium heat, and add the oil.
Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and bay, and cook, stirring occasionally,
until soft and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Add the fava beans (or
cannellinis) and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and then
reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, until beans are tender
and broth has thickened, about 2.5 hours. (Canned
beans won’t take this long to cook; simmer until liquid is almost evaporated)
Season with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice (again, I forgot the lemon juice). Ladle
into a bowl and drizzle more olive oil over the top, if desired. (Or serve on top of your polenta with shrimp!)
After weathering a soul-shredding career as a theatrical agent that lasted entirely too long, Mr. Sherwood left his stable of actors from the stage and screen and went on to pursue his literary aspirations. He is currently the dining editor for Next magazine (nextmagazine.com) where he writes a weekly restaurant review column which also features Manhattan's best food and drink recipes from the finest chef's and bartenders on the island. In 2010 he was published in Foodista’s Best of Food Blogs Cookbook. He toiled as web editor for industry leader Interior Design magazine for several years and has also written for New York magazine, Travel & Leisure and Woman’s Day.
A proud graduate of the University of New Hampshire, one of the nation’s top drinking schools, Mr. Sherwood also studied voice and theater abroad at Regent’s College, in London’s historic Regent’s Park, and at the Royal Academy of Music. He spent a year at Hunter College in Manhattan.
Mr. Sherwood recently published his first novel, the pale of memory, available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and iUniverse.com. He is in the midst of writing a second.
Twitter/tweet/twat him @kaleidabox