The grey sole is a magnificent fish to set on a table, not least for its perfect texture. The flavor is mild, and when very fresh, ethereally mild. It responds best to the most delicate of treatments. This recipe, which adds a ‘tomato butter’ to the plate after it has been sautéed, stole none of that delicacy, and, in addition to its gentle tastiness, introduced two additional textures to the dish, that of the virtually-raw, very ripe tomatoes, and the liquidness of the subtly-aromatic sauce. I had worked with the recipe in the past, but always with substitutions; this was the first time I happened to have the designated tarragon on hand, and it was definitely the best version.
As far as the contorno was concerned, the beet greens were virtually the only vegetable I had in the kitchen that day, and I didn’t want to keep them longer. I really love beet greens, but I’ve decided their astringency does not make them the best compliment to a delicate fish.
- seven small Long Island grey sole fillets (a total of 13 ounces) from Pura Vida Fisheries, cooked in a pan over medium high heat for a very few minutes, turning once, then placed on plates, a couple of spoons of ‘tomato butter’ [see the next bullet point] placed on top
- tomato butter, made by cooking in butter a tiny amount of shallot from John D. Madura Farm, letting the flavored butter cool slightly before being poured over halved fresh large Maine cherry ‘Cocktail Tomatoes’ from Whole Foods which had earlier been combined with chopped tarragon from Stokes Farm, the butter then seasoned with salt and drops of red wine vinegar
- the wine was a French white, Château Perron Graves 2014
- the music was that of Gaspard Fritz