Braided sole with pistachio pesto

This sole does not have to be braided; it can be served as a standard fillet; it is just more fun to braid it. The pistachio pesto lends itself well to the delicate taste of the sole, but any white fish fillet will work just fine.

Making the pistachio pesto is a bit more time consuming than it looks; the pistachios were soaked in water, peeled, dried, toasted a tad in a slow oven, then cooled and ground in a coffee grinder with some almond meal.

The good news here is once you have your pesto ready, any leftover can be frozen and used for another dish, pasta, chicken, whatever, saving you time and effort the second time around.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of pistachios (leave some for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of basil leaves (1 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon of mashed garlic (mash in a mortar with a teaspoon of salt)
  • Sole fillets
  • Potatoes
  • Butter as needed
  • Salt, pepper, to taste

To braid the sole:

Using kitchen shears, cut three strips lengthwise from each fillet without going all the way; braid. You can then butter a 6 or 8 ounce custard dish and place the braid all around it and bake for 10 minutes in a 350F oven; or you can do as I did, which is to pan-fry the fish and then coil it around for the plating.

Making the pesto:

  1. Pour a couple of cups of boiling water over the pistachios; let it cool and peel them, then lay them to dry on paper towels. Roast the pistachios for 7 minutes in a 300F oven. Cool.
  2. Grind them in a coffee grinder with the almond flour and a teaspoon (or more) of oil.
  3. Place the basil leaves, mashed garlic, olive oil and pistachio paste in the bowl of a food processor; run the machine till the pesto is formed, adding more oil if necessary; taste and adjust seasoning.

Peel and cut the potatoes and place in a pan with 1/4 cup of water and 4 tblespoons of butter and a dash of salt; bring to a simmer and let them steam then roast in the melted butter, covering the pan until the last 5 minutes.

Assemble the fish, the pesto and the potatoes on a plate and serve immediately.


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15 Comments

  1. Posted August 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Wow! It is gorgeous!

  2. Posted August 9, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    That pesto sounds wonderful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. Posted August 10, 2011 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Too cool! And mmm pistachio pesto has been playing on my mind and here you’ve gone and made it! Looks so beautiful – and love your recipe. Fabulous! Great summer meal.

  4. Posted August 10, 2011 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    How come I discover your fascinating blog only now? I have just had a walk among your previous posts and seen lots of seducing recipes waiting for me. I don’t know much about the Lebanese cuisine apart from tabbouleh. I had a pleasure to taste once tabbouleh made by a Lebanese friend, who told me many good things about Lebanese delights. We have lost contact, but I have never forgotten her recipe and kept on making tabbouleh for years. I have to post it and submit to your critical eye ;-) Thank you for visiting my blog!

  5. Posted August 10, 2011 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautiful or cretive fish presentation and the pistachio pesto accompaniment is so delicate and refreshing. I love this one Joumana :)

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  6. Posted August 10, 2011 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Lovely recipe and gorgeous presentation Joumana! have a good day….

  7. Posted August 10, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    What a charming idea! I love pestos made with things other than pine nuts… basil is so versatile! This will surely elevate the humble sole to a new level!

  8. Posted August 10, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    The braided fish looks incredible! Joumana, your new video on making Ma’amoul is excellent – great instructions and so fun to watch. Great job!!

  9. Posted August 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    What a neat idea Joumana – braiding fish??? How extravagant that I may try. Few months ago I was going to post a chicken dish with tarragon-pistachio pesto but I lost my old camera with the pictures, but here is the source for the pesto and the recipe. I really did enjoy the flavors. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicken-Skewers-with-Tarragon-Pistachio-Pesto-364553#ixzz1MvmJsKZc

  10. Joumana
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    @Adelina: Thanks so much, it sounds like a terrific recipe!

  11. Posted August 11, 2011 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    I never would have thought of braiding fish or any food to be honest. What an original idea for presentation. Will use it for sure, you wait and see.

  12. Posted August 11, 2011 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Really, Joumana, I have lived, visited and above all eaten in many different places in the world, and I’ve never seen this technique anywhere. Ever. Is it Lebanese, did you see it somewhere, or did you come up with it yourself? Do tell!

  13. Joumana
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    @Tammy: I saw a French chef braiding a sole with two strips; I figured one moe strip would be even better! More to come on this playful technique!

  14. Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    How neat to braid the sole! I’ve never seen it done before, what a terrific idea!

  15. Posted August 11, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful and clever presentation…this is gorgeous! Not to mention a fantastic array of flavors :)

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