18th March 2013

Sole from the miller’s wife

By MaitreMarcel

This weekend we made another visit to Dieppe at the Normandy coast. It is not a very big town but it has a long history and interesting city centre, as well as a wide gravel beach, cliffs and a fortress.
It was our intention to arrive before midday so that we could buy fish from the small stalls tended by the fishermen themselves, but alas we were too late and the few plaice we saw left over did not appeal to us.
However, the regular Saturday market was still going on and there we bought some nice fish for a price that is markedly lower than in the Paris area.
We stopped for lunch at Le Turbot, a good and decently prized small restaurant that uses fish from the local catch. At least for the dishes on the menu. We usually opt for the day menu, cheapskates as we are, and that only included ray as fish while it offered a nice duck confit in beer and andouillette (chitterlings sausage) in mustard.
One of the other patrons ordered the classic sole of the miller’s wife. It is called that way because the fish is coated in flour.
The Dieppe sole is a sole poached in fish stock, with added mussels, or oysters and/or shrimps with mushrooms and cream. Dover sole is another name of the fish, not a preparation.
We had bought sole on the market, so back home, and the following day, I made my own ‘sole à la meunière’.

Ingredients (for two)

  • Two sole of 200 grammes
  • 50 grammes of butter
  • 250 grammes of flour
  • Pepper and salt
  • One lemon
  • Lemon juice
  • White wine (optional)


  1. Wash the fish, cut off the head and remove the innards. Pat dry on kitchen paper.
  2. Make a bed of flour in dish and coat the fish on both sides.
  3. Heat butter in a skillet until it has foamed and turns brownish.
  4. Add the fish side to side and fry for five minutes (turn heat to medium), then turn the fish and fry for another five minutes.
  5. Add salt and pepper, pour some lemon juice over the fish (it will sizzle) and remove the fish to a plate.
  6. Reduce the liquid in the skillet (add white wine if wanted) and add to the fish. (Or discard the lemon/butter mixture and just add drops of lemon juice to the fish).

I served it with a salad of lamb’s lettuce (mâche) with red wine vinegar.