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Sole Veronique


In the days of yore – 1958 to be precise – I was temporally working in Glasgow. It was a tougher and less attractive city than it is now. Sassenachs were easily recognized and in my grey pin-stripe and starched white shirts I had to be a wee bit careful in which district of the city I would find myself; the infamous Gorbals definately being a no-go area.
 
At that time I had a flat in Sauchiehall Street at  the exotic number of 1001, strategically located near that great picking-up emporium, the Locarno Ballroom, where many a quick romance had its origins.  Being from south of the border I never did get used to their half and a wee half (a small beer and a small scotch) drinking culture but I can thank the hospitable Glaswegians for directing me to Rogano’s Restaurant. It was love at first sight; with its wonderful Art Decor interior and obsequious waiters with their floor length, white aprons, I was hooked. Sadly I have never had the opportunity to return but I do hear that – fifty-one years on - it is still one of Glasgow’s better restaurants.

It was at Rogano’s marble and brass bar that I tasted my first Black Velvet; Guinness and Champagne, served in chilled, pewter tankards. Fish was the house speciality and it was in its fine restaurant that I was able to enjoy another first – Sole Veronique.

It is a pity that you rarely  see  Sole Veronique on today’s menus. I suppose some would call  the recipe  old fashioned; chefs preferring the modern trend of adding a hotchpotch plus of exotic herbs to whatever fish dish they are preparing. But believe me, if you get the chance to buy fillets of truly fresh sole, then try this recipe on your partner. It will save you a trip to the Locarno Ballroom.

Sole Veronique

 Serves 8

Ingredients 

• 8 Fillets of Sole
• White Wine
• 1 Onion
• Peppercorns & a Bay Leaf
• 8 oz (225g) White Grapes
• 1 oz (25g) Butter
• 1 oz (25g) Plain Flour
• 1/2 pint (300ml) Milk
• Parsley

Directions 

Lay the Sole Fillets in a buttered dish and cover with white wine. Add a slice of onion, a bay leaf and several peppercorns. Poach the fish for 15 minutes at 300F / 150C / Mark 2. Peel and pip the Grapes (or use the seedless ones). Remove the fillets from the stock when cooked and reduce the liquid to a strong concentrated stock (1/4 pint / 150ml). Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour, adding the milk and fish stock by degrees until the sauce is bubbling. Check the seasoning and add the grapes. Arrange the fish on an oval dish and spoon over the sauce. Garnish with parsley. Serves 8.

Recipe by courtesy of Joanna Percival

 

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