This recipe for Sole with a Light Creamy Shrimp Sauce is so ridiculously easy to make, and so delicious to eat, it's perfect for family, or company, any day of the week"
The making of - Sole with a Light Creamy Shrimp Sauce
When good food wants to look bad
I make this dish often. As I've said in previous posts when I send BB to the market to get some "salad" shrimp for our Butter Leaf Salad with Baby Shrimp and a Fresh Herb Dressing he always gets too much.
But sometimes something that tastes really really good, doesn't always look all that good on the plate, or in a picture. And as I've also said in previous posts, I will probably ALWAYS be known more as a good cook than a good photographer. The first, for me, is so much easier than the second.
A bit of a back backstory...This dish, or at least the sauce, is really based on food that I had as a child. When my mom and dad would go out for an "event" dinner, usually some sort of recognition of someone at my father's work, or an organization they belonged to, my mother would make a dish that was comprised of, canned tuna, cream sauce, capers served over white rice. I LOVED it. It was total comfort food to me.
It also meant that we would be able to enjoy some sibling shenanigans that night. Yes, bonding moments.
BB was not so much into, as he called it, chipped tuna on toast, but is a great lover of petrale sole. So as we are known to do when one gets married and tries to integrate two families' lives, two food cultures, two comfort food family recipes, I thought it was a perfect idea to put a cream sauce over the petrale sole. And since he seems to love those baby salad shrimp so much...let's add those to the mix.
And it's a good mix.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO MAKE SOLE WITH A LIGHT CREAMY SHRIMP SAUCE
- Fish Filets - Best if using Petrale sole. But you could also use snapper, tilapia, sea bass, or another thin white fish. Whatever you do use, do check for bones and remove them as necessary.
- Baby shrimp - also called salad shrimp. Usually found behind the fish counter in your local market. Most of the time they are frozen but they are super easy to thaw. Best not to used canned shrimp as they don't hold up well.
- Shallot - While shallots are best, you could substitute finely chopped red onion or regular yellow onion.
- Low-fat Milk and Cream - I like to add a bit of heavy cream for added mouthfeel, however, you could use all low-fat (2%) milk. If you do this, you will need to add a bit more, about ½ teaspoon more, cornstarch.
- Chicken Broth - I make my own most of the time. If not, I buy a broth that contains no, or few, aromatics such as carrot, onion, and celery, as they make the broth taste too soup-like.
- Capers - The immature, dark green flower buds of the caper bush. Use non-pareil which is a small caper. The smaller the caper, the more delicate in texture and flavor it is. These can be found in the condiment section of most supermarkets. Rinse before using to remove the vinegar used to preserve them if desired.
- White Vermouth, wine, or dry Sherry - I prefer vermouth as it has a consistent flavor profile and overall costs less than white wine. Do not use anything called "cooking wine". And don't worry about the kids, or even yourself if you don't consume alcohol. It all burns off.
But Sole in Shrimp Sauce doesn't want to look beautiful. And since you eat with your eyes, as well as your tastebuds what do you do?
Well, you try to make it beautiful. You try as hard as you can think. Spoons, yes, added interest. Still not beautiful. How about a white napkin? Let's try a gold napkin. Better but no cigar. Candles? Yes - that looks really stupid.
I really am trying to improve my photos, so I've been taking some online courses and practicing. And one of the things they tell you to do is to set up your shot well before you are going to take it.
Set it up, they say. Think of your props. What is your story? Who is your hero? Get your aperture and your lighting needs to be established before taking a shot.
So when we went to the market, thinking about dinner, and I saw the beautiful petrale sole filets, I thought, I know how I can make these look good. I'll pre-set up my shot.
So I did.
Wrote down all my details on my "flow chart" and then set off to cook my dinner.
Petrale sole is a very thin fish. It doesn't take any time at all to sauté and even on a warmed plate, it can go cold easily. And cold fish is not good fish. The cream sauce is not so good cold either. But I got it made, on a warmed platter, and into my new studio.
In a hurry.
Snap snap snap snap...photos were done, now let's eat!
Next day I review my photos.
Really? After an hour of set-up, this is what you got?
And wait. What's missing? Besides making you want to say yum?
Oh yeah, those serving pieces. Right there. In the shadows.
Luckily I saved one of the best-looking pieces of fish and had put some of the sauce away for a possible lunch so after my photo review I re-set the shot and took enough photos of the dish until I found one that makes me stop and say...
Yeah, I'd eat that.
Sole with a Light Creamy Shrimp Sauce
(What do you think? Maybe not beautiful but better?)
And I will. Eat it again and again.
I think you will too.
Wine Recommendation: The cream in this recipe for Sole with a Light Creamy shrimp Sauce calls for something with a mellowness to it - a lightly oaked, slightly malolactic Chardonnay is a great choice. It would also work nicely with a Viognier.
Like those Baby Shrimp in Sole with a Light Creamy Shrimp Sauce but want some bigger shrimp?
Sole with a Light Creamy Shrimp Sauce
- 4 5 - 6 ounce Petrale Sole filets, or other thin white fish
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup about all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- For the Light Creamy Shrimp Sauce
- ¼ cup finely minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¾ cup 2% low-fat milk
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup dry white vermouth or dry white wine, or dry sherry
- 2 - 3 tablespoons capers rinsed
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon if available
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water or broth
- ¼ pound pre-cooked baby bay also known as salad shrimp
- Salt and freshly ground white works best here pepper
- Minced fresh parsley for serving if desired
- Season the fish on both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper. Lightly dust with flour. Heat the oil and butter together in a skillet big enough to hold the fish, over medium-high heat; add the filets and cook, carefully turning once, until cooked through, about 2 - 3 minutes. Keep warm.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan and add the shallot and sauté 2 - 3 minutes or until soft. Add the milk, cream, broth, and wine, bring to a simmer, then add the capers. While simmering, slowly add the mix of cornstarch and water (also called a "slurry") and stir until it comes to the sauce consistency you prefer - from thin to thick - then gently stir in the shrimp. Cook for 1 - 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are hot. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Place a serving of fish on a heated plate, spoon the sauce over and sprinkle with parsley, if desired.