BuffaloSpree.com's Recipe of the week: Perch á la Meuniér
Meuniér is a both a preparation and a classic French sauce, simple to master and a perfect accompaniment to a good quality piece of fish. This recipe calls for perch, but if fresh perch is not readily available at your market, you can easily substitute tilapia, sole, cod or even scallops.
The preparation aspect of meuniér requires that the fish to be lightly dredged in flour, while the sauce portion of the recipe is a variation on brown butter sauce, with parsley, shallot, lemon and butter as the main ingredients. Some cooks will add other ingredients, but they are unnecessary if your fish is fresh and you season your dish properly with salt and pepper.
With such a limited number of ingredients and the fish front and center, this recipe can be considered a healthy addition to your recipe repertoire. If calorie and fat reduction are your main goals, feel free to play around with the proportions. Simply reduce the amount of butter used (and make sure your non-stick pan is in good working condition). Please don't, however, try to make this recipe with margarine or another butter substitute. Look for another recipe if you are unwilling to proceed with good, old-fashioned butter here, or you will be terribly disappointed with the results both in flavor and overall preparation. Finally, classic French meuniér recipes call for clarified butter, but since we want you to actually try this recipe and none of us are studying at Le Cordon Bleu, rest assured that this recipe will turn out just fine without that extra step.
So, here we go with Chef Joe George's recipe for Perch á la Meuniér as it appeared in Buffalo Spree's March/April 2001 issue. For more of Chef George's recipes, see our searchable online recipe database.
Perch á la Meuniér
4 (12 oz) ocean perch fillets
4 tbsp flour
6 oz unsalted butter, divided
2 small shallots, peeled and minced
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
Lay the perch on a plate and lightly dust both sides with flour; pat off any excess. Heat 3 ounces of the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, and when the butter begins to bubble in the pan add the perch, skin-side facing up.
Cook the perch for a couple of minutes on each side, just until they are done, and transfer them to warm plates. Keep the perch warm in a very low oven. Add the remaining butter to the pan along with the minced shallot, and raise the heat to high. When the butter and shallots achieve a golden brown color, and begin to smell of toasted nuts, add the lemon, salt, and parley (be careful not to burn the butter). Swirl the pan to form a quick emulsification. Immediately pour the butter sauce over the fish, and serve while hot.
Number of Servings: 4 servings