Sole Poached in White Wine: Worthy of Monet’s Table

Impressionist painter Claude Monet ate his main meal at 11:30 a.m. so he could take advantage of the afternoon light. Monet would get upset if his talented cook, Marguerite, served the meal a few minutes late. Author Claire Joyes and photographer Jean-Bernard Naudin document the artist’s love of food in “Monet’s Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet,” one of the most beautiful cook books ever published.

In the 1880s nobody thought about dieting, Joyes explains, and Monet ate what he wanted and all he wanted. Photos show an aging Monet becoming a rotund Monet. He loved simple, good food and, above all, fresh food from his gardens and farm yard. Fellow artists – Whistler, Cezanne, Rodin and others – were often invited for lunch. Guests were never invited for dinner because Monet went to bed early.

Monet adored fresh fish, especially pike from his fish pond. The cook book has lots of fish recipes, including Filet de sole a la Veron. The fish sauce – egg yolks, fish broth, wine, butter and herbs – is made first. Then the fish is dredged in flour and melted butter and broiled.

Today, many of us are eating healthier and this recipe for Sole Poached in White Wine is not only healthy, it’s a one-pan recipe and you can make it in 15 minutes. Pair the fish with crusty bread, a green salad, and fresh fruit and you have a fabulous French meal. Serve the meal on blue and white plates and you’ll feel like you’re sitting at Monet’s table.

INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 pounds sole, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 medium onion (chopped), 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper, 1 garlic clove (peeled), 3/4 cup chopped canned tomatoes (drained), 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, 1/4 cup dry white wine, 1/4 cup fat free half and half, 1 tablespoon soft butter, 1 tablespoon Wondra flour

METHOD: Pour olive oil into skillet. Saute onions in oil until soft. Add salt, lemon pepper, and garlic clove. Lay fish on top of onions. Scatter chopped tomatoes and parsley over fish. Pour wine around fish. Cover loosely with foil and cook over medium heat 5-10 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork. Remove foil and garlic clove. Drizzle half and half into sauce. Work flour into butter and stir into sauce. Cook over medium heat, shaking the pan a bit, until sauce has thickened. Makes 4 servings.

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