Sole “en Papillotes” with Anchovy Brown Butter Sauce

March 24, 2015

Author Notes: Inspired by a dish described by Joseph Wechsberg in a magazine article written (I think) in the 1950s. The sauce can also be used with sautéed or grilled shrimp. So simple to make, so easy to love. I do hope you like this. ;o)AntoniaJames

Serves: 2


  • 3/4 pound sole fillets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + a teaspoon for brushing the fillets
  • 6 cloves of garlic, each sliced lengthwise in 3 or 4 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped anchovies (rinsed well if packed in salt)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground pepper, and salt
In This Recipe


  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Pat the fillets dry. Lightly brush with olive oil. Divide the fillets between two pieces of parchment, each about four times as wide as the fillets when laid side by side (if using more than one per person), and twice as long. Sprinkle with salt and scatter ¼ of the garlic slices over the fish in each of the packets. (You’ll use the other half in the sauce.) Bring the two long edges up and fold over on themselves until fairly close to the fish. Fold the ends under. Place in a baking dish and bake for 9 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat a small skillet; add the tablespoon of olive oil. Then add the anchovies and break them down with a wooden spoon as they melt. Once they are nearly dissolved, add the remaining garlic slices. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook for another minute or so, taking care not to burn the garlic. About a minute before the fish is due to come out of the oven, add a few turns of black pepper; then add the butter. It will bubble up vigorously. Stir constantly, allowing the butter to darken. Remove immediately from the heat, continuing to stir off the heat. Strain if you like, pressing hard on the solids.
  4. When the fish fillets have been in the oven for the full 9 minutes, remove from the packets, taking care not to get burned by the steam that will escape. Discard the garlic slices, and plate the fish. Pour the sauce over the fillets. Serve with a good chunk of crusty bread, or couscous, orzo, farro, or any other starchy side, for sopping up the sauce.
  5. I hope you enjoy this. ;o)

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