Fish fillets alla meunière are a classic hit dish, in common use for over two centuries across Europe.
The term derives from what it seems: that is, from the fact that food is floured like more or less everything found in a mill. However It is not an Italian dish, but a French oneand therefore the etymology refers to the French word meunièreWhat does miller mean?
The most famous and celebrated meunière fish is sole, but almost all fish fillets can be cooked in this way: trout, hake, sea bass, pangasius, snapper, grouper, etc., obviously including the cod that you see in the photo.
In Italy, fish fillets alla meunière are considered one traditional recipe from Friuli Venezia Giulia, where they are prepared in a very similar way to the French version. The only difference is the lack of final deglazing.
deglaze means diluting the greasy cooking residue that sticks to the bottom of the pot with a liquid. In this way, a sauce is obtained that thickens over the fire and is then used to flavor the dish that has been cooked in it. The liquid used is preferably slightly acidic; wine, vinegar (for meats), liquors, fruit juices and especially citrus fruits, such as the lemon used in our case. But you can also use water or broth.
This procedure is essential in the classic recipe for meunière fish fillets. But, recipe aside, the point is that this gives a very special flavor to the dish. That is why we do not think it is a good idea to have to give it up, although the Italian tradition does not foresee it.
- 4 fish fillets of about 180-200 g each
- 70g butter
- juice of a lemon
- White wine
- Pat the fillets dry with kitchen paper, then dust them in flour on all sides, then shake them gently to remove any excess.
- Melt 50g butter in a frying pan, place the fillets in it and brown them for 2-3 minutes on each side over moderate heat. Be careful not to break them when turning them over, better if you help yourself with a shovel.
- Pour half a glass of white wine (about 60ml) into the pan, add 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley, cover with the lid and finish cooking – the exact time depends on the type of fish and the size of the fillet, but 5 minutes should be enough If necessary, remove the lid and raise the heat a little to reduce excess wine.
- Salt and pepper the fish fillets and season them with a little pepper, then remove them from the pan and place them on a serving plate and sprinkle with half a tablespoon of chopped parsley.
- Pour the lemon juice into the pan and, using a small spatula over very low heat, deglaze (melt) the cooking liquid and any crusts adhering to the pan. All the scabs, even the ones that look burned to you. Now add a pinch of salt and thicken the obtained sauce to the density of a syrup. Finally, turn off the heat and pour the remaining 20g of butter into the pan, whisking with a spoon until everything becomes an emulsified sauce. Pour hot over your meunière fish fillets and serve immediately.
Brief tips from the sommelier Ilaria Lombardo (@ilarietta77) on how to drink in moderation but well, combining wines and regional dishes in the best possible way
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Delicate but tasty dish, to accompany with a glass of Ansonica. We are in Tuscany, specifically in the Argentario area, where this variety of white grapes provides a strong and at the same time fine and intense flavor.
It is a white wine: it has a straw yellow color with shades that tend to gold. In combination with alla meuniaia fillets we choose it in a dry version, but there is also a version with raisins.
On the nose it offers floral and citrus notes, and an almond aftertaste on the palate. It has a discreet persistence that envelops the mouth for at least ten seconds, but will be carried away by the delicacy of the fillet, making the perfect pairing.
Taste at a temperature of 10 – 12 °C.
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