Julia Child’s Fillets of Sole Meuniere

Sole is one of my go-to fish. Most people like salmon, but I prefer the light and flaky feel of a simple sole. When I saw that this week presented with Sole Meuniere, I honestly jumped up and down. We make fish just like this preparation often because it is so convenient and simple. The only difference is of course, butter. Usually we use a splash of olive oil, but of course in Julia’s good taste, butter must be used. It is clarified and removed of it’s milk solids and then the gold liquid is used to lightly fry the delicately battered fillets. The smell of the butter was astonishing. Buttery and nutty, the aroma took over the entire kitchen and I am sure peeked out through the door for our neighbors to salivate at.

Julia Child’s Fillets of Sole Meuniere

Excerpted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child. Copyright © 1989 by Julia Child. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.


  • 4-6 skinless, boneless fillets of sole
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 5-6 Tb clarified butter
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Lemon wedges
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tb capers (Optional)


  1. Lay out and pat dry the fillets. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Dredge in a light coating of flour, removing excess.
  3. In a skillet on medium-high heat, pour clarified butter in and allow to heat just before browning.
  4. Place fillets in, not overcrowding the pan. About 3-4 in a large skillet. Brown on one side for about 1-2 minutes and flip over to brown other carefully.
  5. Remove fish to a platter and add capers to butter, if using for another minute. Pour capers and butter over fish.
  6. Garnish with lemon and fresh parsley.
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  1. Kathleen says

    This isn’t the way I learned it… I watched Julia;s assistant make this recently on PBS, a show called weeknight dinners or something. The lemon is supposed to be peeled, like an orange, and the sections added to the butter/caper/parsley in the pan. As they disintefrate, the lemon de-glazes the delicious fish bits in the pan. The parsley is not a garnish, it’s an important flavor of the sauce.

    If you make it right, it is one of the best things you’ll ever put in your mouth.

    • SamanthaSamantha says

      Hi Kathleen. I know I followed the recipe exactly as in her book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. I don’t remember peeling lemon, and I would because I LOVE lemon peel and zest. Perhaps her assistant made a different version? However, I would love to try that version as well.

      • Julia says

        I have been trained under a French 2 star and how we did it was to take out the fried fish, then melt the butter in the same pan, throw a ton of parsley in, then remove from heat and add a squeeze of lemon. This was because the lemon immediately stops the cooking and keeps the butter from browning! But I’m not going to challenge Julia Child! It looks delicious!

  2. Kathleen says

    Ah, my apologies, I just looked it up… Sara Moulton’s recipe was an adaptation, with a Grenobloise sauce… no zest, or pith, the sections of lemon are just like you’d section a tangerine to eat. It was a revelation for me. This was my first experience with the dish, so I didn’t realize it was an adaptation, but I can tell you I love the sauce so much I make it about once a week.

    Also notable, Sarah just pan fried the fish in oil, so it was a bit crispy. I love the texture, with a bit of crunch. Cuts down on the butter. used canola, so I could cook the fish quickly and have it tender on the inside, crunchy out. The butter I save for the sauce, and since it’s not clarified, it’s a lot less hassle. In thinking about it, I guess she was simply updating the recipe. She used trout, I used Tilapia
    Here’s Sara’s recipe. Also on that episode, a souffle omelet I want to try. Have you done one of those? Thanks for making me hungry!!!



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