Tuesday, 17 June 2014

World Cup Food Recipes - Belgium

Lemon sole meuniere with Belgian rather than French fries

Belgium are tipped by many to do very well in this World Cup, especially given the fact that they were granted what is at least on paper a fairly favourable draw in all respects. They kicked off their campaign tonight against the North Africans of Algeria and despite falling behind, managed to turn matters around late on and secure a fairly uninspiring 2-1 victory. Today, I am featuring my take on a classic Belgian fish dish which - like all the best fish dishes - is quick and simple to prepare, incorporating only a minimum of ingredients.

Sole Meuniere with Belgian Fries

So what are Belgian fries and how do they compare to French fries? The reality is that what is now the country of Belgium lays strong claim to having produced these little delights before its French neighbours, so they are simply an alternative name for the same thing. The sole meuniere in Belgium would normally be prepared with what is known as Dover sole in the UK but for availability and cost reasons, I have used the delicious and tender little fish alternative that is lemon sole.

Cut fries are ready to be refrigerated to dry them out

Ingredients (Serves One)

1 large baking potato, peeled and sliced/chopped in to fries
2 gutted lemon sole
2 or 3 tablespoons plain/all purpose flour
Salt and pepper
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter
Juice only of half a lemon
2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley

Fries are added to hot oil for the first time


When the fries were cut, I firstly steeped them in cold water for ten minutes to get rid of the excess starch. I then drained them well, spread them in a large dish and refrigerated them for an hour to dry them out in the cold, dry air. While neither of these procedures are essential, I honestly believe both contribute to better final results on the plate.

Bring a deep frying pan of vegetable oil up to a medium heat. I always use a deep frying pan for deep frying in this fashion as it lets me watch what is happening and control the cooking much better than a deep fryer. If you don't have such a pan, you can pick one up fairly cheaply on Amazon, Amazon UK or from your country's Amazon store. Fry the potato pieces for three or four minutes, just until they are softened and starting to take on some colour and no more. Drain on kitchen paper and allow ten minutes or so to cool. 

Cleaned lemon sole

Take a fairly sturdy pair of kitchen scisoors and snip the fins off either side of each lemon sole.  What I find happens if you don't do this is that the fins start to separate from the main body of the fish in the frying pan and it gets messy.

Cutting the fins from lemon sole

Scatter the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Pat the lemon sole in the flour on both sides. Gently shake to remove any excess.

Lemon sole are patted in seasoned flour for frying

Start your deep frying oil heating to a fairly high heat.

Melt  the butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and lay in the lemon sole dark skin sides down. Fry on the medium heat for four minutes. Turn them carefully with a spatula or fish slice and fry for another four minutes on the second side. This may seem like a long time to fry such a delicate fish but remember that the skin is on them and the bones are in. The skin will protect the flesh of the fish.

Frying lemon sole

When the lemon sole are turned in the pan, start the potatoes frying in the oil for a second time. Turn them around occasionally with a deep frying spider. After four or five minutes, they should be nicely golden and should again be drained on kitchen paper.
Twice fried Belgian fries are drained on kitchen paper

Lift the lemon sole carefully from the pan to your serving plate. Add the lemon juice and the parsley to what should be the nicely browned (but not burned) butter, reduce the heat and stir for about a minute.

Finishing off the sole meuniere sauce

Plate the Belgian fries alongside the lemon sole on your plate.

Pan fried lemon sole and Belgian fries

Spoon the parsley butter over the lemon sole. The sole should be eaten by carefully cutting away the top skin and sliding the flesh sideways off the bones. The bones should then easily lift free to allow access to the flesh on the underside.

Tucking in to lemon sole meuniere and Belgian fries

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