Filets de Carrelet Meunière aux Amandes / Pan-Fried Fillets of Plaice with Lemon Butter & Almonds (from French Brasserie Cookbook by Galmiche, 2011)

I was already planning to make (and therefore, by necessity of course not greed no, eat) cake and chocolate pots on the same day, so to lift the weight of the guilt already burdening my shoulders before I’d even started, a light lunch was in order (and a quick ‘n’ easy one too).  But of course, this is French cuisine and therefore, damn it, there must be butter.  With 30g of butter per person (relatively puritan for a French recipe), at least we may outlast the heart attack long enough for the cake and chocolate custard pots to finish us off.

I have never cooked plaice fillets before; I didn’t even realise they came with that teenage-acne spotty skin.  Despite having gawped and pointed at a number of plaice just a couple of weeks previously in Lisbon’s Aquarium, I hadn’t quite connected those fish with these fillets.  Which is lucky, because plaice (the poisson) is ugly and I wouldn’t have chosen this recipe otherwise.

Only a mother could love a face like that.

Only a mother could love a face like that.

Which would have been a shame because it turns out that plaice are totally delicious.  They have a delicate sweet taste that lingers surprisingly and matches perfectly with the rich yet acidic lemon butter sauce and the golden toastiness of the almonds.  And it was quick ‘n’ easy – I spent more time on roasting the baby potatoes – you just fry the floured fillets in butter and add the lemon, parsley and almonds to the pan at the end.  Voilà, hey presto, Bob’s your uncle: a lovely lazy lunch.

More attractive than when it was alive.

Need This (for 2)

2 plaice fillets / salt & pepper / 1 tbsp plain flour / 30g + 30g butter / 1 tbsp olive oil / 12g flaked almonds / flat leaf parsley / 1/4 lemon

Do This

Season fillets both sides / sprinkle with flour both sides & pat down / 30g butter & olive oil in large heavy frying pan on medium heat / when hot add fillets 5 mins each side or until golden (pic 2) / remove fillets from pan & keep warm / add 30g butter & almonds to same pan / when golden add parsley and a big squeeze of lemon / season

Skin-side down first, to not be put off by the ugly spotty poisson.