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Related Ingredients
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Tasting Tips

Buttery and slightly sweet sole gets a crunchy crust from crumbled phyllo dough.

Phyllo has a light, neutral flavor that doesn’t overpower the delicate fish and as it sizzles in the pan, it makes an impossibly light, flaky crust with beautiful golden texture. To keep the crust as light and airy as possible, Michael uses egg whites to bind the phyllo flakes to the fish – the whites have great sticking power without the heft of the yolks. The neutral flavor of grapeseed oil allows the buttery notes of the sole to shine in this dish. Plus, grapeseed oil has a higher smoking point than butter so the pan can get hotter without burning – which promises a crispier crust.

Tips & Techniques

  1. Fun with phyllo. If you’ve ever worked with phyllo dough, you know that the paper-thin sheets dry out and become brittle very quickly. We take advantage of this by crumbling the dried-out sheets to make our crust.
  2. Forget about flour. There is no need dredge the fillets in flour here. The egg whites adhere the phyllo directly to the fish, which makes for a much lighter coating than traditional breading.
  3. Sizzle? Fo’ shizzle. For the crispiest, flakiest crust possible, make sure that your grapeseed oil is very hot before the fish hits the pan.

Toolbox

These tools are the ones we find especially helpful when making this dish.

  1. Kitchen tweezers. Many chefs swap tongs for oversized medical tweezers to handle kitchen tasks with surgical precision. Here, Michael breaks out the tweezers to keep his fingers clean while dipping the sole in the egg whites and then the phyllo.

The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.

½ sheet pan
Plate
Whisk and medium bowl
Sauté pan

Large spatula or fish spatula
Kitchen tweezers
¼ sheet pan with rack


Ingredients
  • 6 sheets phyllo dough
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 4 (4-ounce) Petrale sole fillets (or 8 thinner, 2-ounce pieces), dried well with paper towel
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves: 4

Total time: 20 minutes

Active time: 15 minutes

Method
  1. Lay the sheets of phyllo on a large baking sheet, no more than 2 or 3 sheets thick, until fully dry and crumbly, about 3 hours or overnight.
  2. Crumble the dried phyllo into 1/4 to ½-inch pieces and lay in a shallow pan large enough to hold the fillets.
  3. Season the fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. If using 8 thin filets, press two together while they are raw to make one portion for a total of four portions (this will ensure that they are still very moist inside by the time the outside cooks).
  4. Lightly beat the egg whites until fluid (without incorporating air) in a container large enough to hold the fillets.
  5. Set a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  6. Add a ½-1/4 inch grapeseed oil to the hot sauté pan. The amount of oil needed will vary depending on the size of the fillet; however, the oil should not be deeper than half of the fillet height.
  7. Pour egg whites over the top of the portions; ensure all sides are evenly coated. Transfer fillets to crumbled phyllo dough, allowing excess egg white to drain prior to dredging. Press into the crumbled phyllo firmly all around the filets to coat completely.
  8. Place the coated filets in the oil and sauté until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook the second side until golden brown, about another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a baking tray or plate and juice a lemon wedge over the top. Serve immediately.

Here is a great way to turn this dish into a meal

Phyllo-crusted sole sandwhich

Use your phyllo-crusted sole for a killer fish sandwich. Mix thinly sliced tomatoes, red onion, lettuce and herbs and toss with a creamy dressing. Spread the slaw over toasted brioche and place the fish on top.

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