Simple, quick, and awesome fish recipes are absolutely what I’m in the mood for right now! (Plus, who doesn’t want a good lentils recipe?) If you’re in a hurry, petrale sole is one of the fastest fish you can choose to cook. Thin and delicate, this white-fleshed fish cooks up in barely more than one minute. If you make the rest of your meal in advance, you can heat your sides or make a quick salad, and get that fish cooked and on the table in no time!
For this dish, everything but the fish can be made the day before and kept in the fridge. Even the lentils recipe! Just heat up the celery root puree and the lentils before serving (make sure to stir the puree frequently to keep it from sticking or burning in the pan), and just bring the pomegranate vinaigrette up to room temperature. It might look complicated, but this is one of those great healthy dinner recipes that you can do much of in advance and then get ready in a flash!
I go over the same technique for cooking fish for most fish recipes again and again, but so many people are intimidated by sautéing a quick piece of fish for lunch or dinner that I like to focus on the simplicity of this technique. It’s easy to see why people get frustrated! If your pan and oil aren’t hot, your fish will stick to the pan. It’s that simple. If you have a cold pan or cool oil, you have what feels like superglue instead of your beautiful filet. Heat that pan! Get it ripping hot! Make that oil shimmer!
For added insurance on just about any of these fish recipes, get a good sprinkle of salt on your fish, which will act as a little safety layer that will stick instead of your fish. Then turn down the heat within a couple of seconds so you don’t burn anything. For petrale sole, all you need to do is cook the first side until it’s golden, gently and carefully flip it over (it’s pretty fragile and will break apart if you’re rough with it), and turn off the pan. If you want to go the extra flavor mile (this also applies to most fish recipes), put a little pat of butter in the pan and spoon the butter as it melts over the fish. That plus a quick squeeze of lemon will bump your quick two-minute filet up to restaurant quality!
Celery root (or celeriac) is that big knobby root in the grocery store that you tend to find this time of year. It’s really dirty and kind of hairy, so you want to wash it well and peel it. It’s easiest to use a knife to peel this root; t’s pretty tough and you have to really get in the crevices to remove some of that dirt. Like potatoes, as soon as you have it peeled and cut in pieces (for a puree, the shape of the pieces isn’t terribly important, but you do want to aim for a uniform size so everything cooks evenly), toss the pieces in some cold water to keep them a nice white color.
Making celery root puree is a lot like making mashed potatoes in the beginning: you’ll want to cover everything with cold water, add a generous amount of salt, bring everything up to a boil, and then turn it down to a gentle simmer so you don’t destroy the potatoes, and simmer until soft. Unlike potatoes, you can go ahead and blend the living crap out of your celery root, which will give you a delicate, fluffy, soft, and velvety puree. Do this to potatoes, and you’ll wind up with glue! Over the years, I’ve discovered that, for me at least, adding a little milk to the water when you cook the celery root makes for an even more wonderful puree. It’s totally optional, but I’ve done it with all water, all milk or cream (that is awesome, but will burn the minute you look away, which destroys the flavor), and mostly water with a little milk, and I do think that little milk adds something special.
Here’s a good recipe for cooking lentils. Basically, for pretty much every lentils recipe, you want to cover them with cold water, bring them up to a boil, reduce the heat, add salt, and cook until tender and then drain off any excess water. I like to add a little olive oil to the water when I cook them and then toss them with olive oil after they’re drained. If you want to be a little adventurous, adding some protein powder, nutritional yeast, and a dash or two of hot sauce is exactly what I’ve been doing to every batch of lentils I’ve made for the last month or so. It’s really good! Totally recommend.
Pomegranates are absolutely amazing to have around this time of year. Buy one, get the seeds out (I like to cut them in half and then beat the outside with the back of a large spoon to release the seeds. Done inside of a plastic bag, this way can be super fast and nearly mess-free!) You don’t need all of the pomegranate seeds for this vinaigrette, so if you have extra (and didn’t snack on the extras while you were preparing dinner like I did…) try sprinkling them on oatmeal, yogurt, salads, rice, or whatever it is you’re making!
With the protein and omegas from the fish plus the amazing benefits of some of the healthiest ingredients out there (walnuts, parsley, pomegranate, olive oil, garlic, and the lentils), this dish winds up being not only incredibly delicious, but also startlingly good for you! The celery root puree is delicate, sweet, and velvety, which works well with the gentle flavor of the sole and the hearty lentils, and then the pomegranate vinaigrette adds a bright and tangy pop to every bite. This is a a pretty simple way to wow your family or guests, or just treat yourself to a delicious and healthy meal!
(See how it’s getting gold around the edges?)
Want to plate it like I did? Here are the steps:
Put a dollop of puree on the plate, then drag your spoon through it
Pile the lentils in the puree
Plate the fish on the lentils. Make it as tall as you can! It’s more interesting that way.
Vinaigrette in a pile on the top, and then around the sides!
Quick and Delicate Petrale Sole with Pomegranate Vinaigrette,Celery Root Puree and Black Lentils: Healthy Fish Recipes
- 1 4-7 oz portion petrale sole per person
- 2 tsp neutral oil, like safflower or vegetable
- 1 tsp butter, optional
- 1 squeeze lemon juice
- 2 large or 3-4 small celery root, peeled and diced
- Cold water, to cover
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 Tbs salt, plus more to season
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 pinch chili flakes or aleppo
- 1/4 cup parsley, minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 Tbs walnuts, chopped
- 3 Tbs pomegranate seeds
- salt, pepper
- 2-3 Tbs celery root puree (or however much you want!)
- 2-3 Tbs cooked lentils (or more!)
- 1 filet petrale sole
- 1-2 Tbs pomegranate vinaigrette
- Garnish: (totally optional )Crunchy salt (like Maldon), freshly cracked black pepper, chili flakes (like espelette), or anything you want!
- Add the peeled and diced celery root to the water, milk, and 1 Tbs salt and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender.
- Drain, reserving cooking liquid.
- Puree the celery root with the cream until smooth, working in batches if your blender isn't good with large quantities. If it's too thick, add cooking liquid until it's just loose enough to process. You don't want to overwork your blender, but you also don't want to make soup! Just add a little at a time until your blender can handle the puree.
- Blend the living heck out of it, taste, and season!
- Add the minced garlic to the vinegar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and let sit for about 5 minutes.
- Add the chili flakes, olive oil, and pomegranate seeds and combine.
- Just before serving, add the parsley and walnuts, taste, and season.
- Heat the pan, add the oil, and heat until almost smoking.
- Season the fish on both sides with the salt.
- Carefully add to the pan and give it a gentle shake to make sure it isn't sticking.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the fish begins to become golden around the edges.
- Carefully flip over, turn off the heat, and add the butter (if using). Spoon the butter over the top as it melts, and squeeze lemon juice over. Remove from heat and let rest for a minute or two.
- Plate however you like and enjoy!
Looking for more healthy dinner recipes or awesome fish recipes? You might like
You might also want to check out this super healthy “Salmon Tartare” Kale Salad!
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