This elegant dinner party dish was invented by a model of a nineteenth-century Parisian chef named Adolphe Dugléré. According to Larousse Gastronomique, he studied under Carême, ran the kitchens for the Rothschild family, and, at owned a famous Paris restaurant called Cafe Anglais. His eponymous fish dish, as all the best French ones do, starts with a very boring list of ingredients: sole fillets, flour, butter, fish stock, white wine, some token spices in drearily small quantities. Paula Wolfert took a bite in her French cooking class in 1958, she decided to drop out of college to become a chef. —Emily Kaiser Thelin
4 to 6
plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (90 g total), plus more for greasing
Roma tomatoes (about 9 ounces | 255 g total), halved lengthwise and seeded
four-ounce/115g skinless sole (Dover, petrale, or grey) or flounder fillets
flaky sea salt
bay leaves, halved
thin yellow onion slice, separated into 6 strands
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a shallow broiler-safe baking dish 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) in diameter. Line the bottom with parchment paper and lightly butter the parchment.
Using the large holes of a box grater, and with the cut side against the grater, grate the tomato halves and discard the skins. Set aside.
Arrange the sole fillets on a work surface and pat dry. Sprinkle each fillet with a pinch or two of salt and cayenne pepper, then top each fillet with 1/2 teaspoons of the butter, 1 peppercorn, and 1 bay leaf half. Starting from a narrow end, roll up each fillet into a snug cylinder and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Top each fillet with 1 onion strand. Pour the white wine into the dish.
Poach the fish in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon out all but about 1 tablespoon of the wine from the dish. Set the fish aside in the dish and keep warm. Position an oven rack 7 inches (17.5 cm) from the heating element and preheat the broiler.
In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons (45 g) of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk for 30 seconds to blend thoroughly without coloring. Add the stock, cream, and grated tomato and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Turn down the heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley, then whisk in the remaining 2 teaspoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, whisking after each addition until melted. Season with salt and black pepper and remove from the heat.
Spoon the sauce over the fish fillets and sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Broil until the sauce begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately directly from the baking dish or transfer the fillets to individual plates with a generous serving of sauce.