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.
- 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
- 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:
- 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.
- Grind them in a coffee grinder with the almond flour and a teaspoon (or more) of oil.
- 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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