8 & $20 Recipe: Herb-Crusted Sole with Chardonnay

Mashed potatoes made with olive oil makes a simple side
Oct 23, 2012

Eight ingredients. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.

As fall shifts into top gear, an abrupt return to braises, stews and roasts can sometimes feel a touch heavy. This simple dinner of herb-crusted baked sole and a side of mashed potatoes made with olive oil is bright and fresh-tasting but still has a dash of the comfort-food factor called for by the cooler nights.

Using olive oil means that the mashed potatoes will pick up the attractive herbal and grassy notes, so be sure to use good-quality, fresh oil. Be generous on the pour when you’re mixing it in: Remember you’re substituting for both cream and butter.

With its gentle flavors, this dish works well with a wide range of white wines. You’ll want something with a bit of weight to stand up to the rich mashed potatoes, but maybe not quite as heavy as if you had used butter. A full-bodied Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige made an excellent choice, as did a barrel-aged white Rioja. But a Chardonnay from the Mâconnais region of Burgundy stood out with the dish in our tasting: The citrus notes in the wine locked in with the lemon zest and herb mixture, while the round texture meshed nicely with the potatoes.

Herb-Crusted Sole with Olive-Oil Mashed Potatoes

Pair with a full-bodied Chardonnay from Burgundy, such as Domaine Michel & Fils Mâcon-Villages à Clessé 2011 (90 points, $16)

Total time: 25 minutes

Approximate food cost: $32

  • 4 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced mint
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 4 six-ounce sole fillets

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a large pot, add the potatoes, enough water to cover the potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, around 15 minutes.

2. Combine the herbs, breadcrumbs and lemon zest in a shallow dish. Brush the fish fillets with olive oil, season both sides with salt, then dredge one side of the fillets in the herb mixture. Place the coated fillets with the herb-coated side up on a non-stick baking sheet, then put the sheet in the oven, and cook until the fish is done, around 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Drain the potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and mash the potatoes until smooth, adding more olive oil as necessary. Season with salt to taste. Serve alongside the fish.Serves 4.

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