After nearly two years, 20 months to be precise, my father popped in for a couple of days. I am not a great traveler I must admit and due to unexpected setbacks this year (bloody car), going to Brittany for a week wouldn’t be financially very wise. So Brittany came to me, smiling as usual, more zen than me and debonair, with each time whiter hair; I am now the same age he was when he first visited me in Sligo, all these years ago. Sobering thoughts, well, at least something was these last few days!
Staying around works for a bit, but I like to take a nice spin somewhere. I opted for Sligo, in the North West of Ireland as it is less than two hours drive from the house, it has everything… I love Mullaghmore for the sea…
The magnificent Benbulben…
It even has in neighbouring Leitrim, a waterfall, in the Townland of Glencar, by the lake of the same name…
Yes, it has it all. But I have been away for a while now, and the important thing when you travel with two hungry Bretons, is to know when and where to stop for lunch. I contacted Sligo based fellow blogger Val from Magnumlady’s blog and as usual and very promptly, she suggested a few places for a casual and tasty lunch. One caught my eye, as its location just south of Sligo town would have been perfect for lunch time as we were coming from this side of the County, in a little place called Collooney, Nook restaurant. That was exactly what we ( I) were looking for, fresh, cool, local, clever, I love what they do and admire them for their choices…
As we were enjoying our lunch, we ended up debating about restaurants, and how I started cooking in Sligo, “Fadó Fadó”, a long time ago. I got my first taste of it in the Silver Swan Hotel, peeling and cooking vegetables. I was fascinated, and the head chef, a guy from the south west of France, a Gascon, taught me how to make Lemon Sole under the grill. Yes, the first time I cooked fish was in Sligo ( alright, alright, I was young, and apart from cooking cockles and mussels to stay alive-o, I didn’t know much about timing and the little things that can go wrong with fish…). As we continued our journey towards Easkey and the Ox Mountain, Dad asked me if I was still in touch with him. They became quite friendly at some stage…
So a couple of days after, I was already on my way to Dublin to bring my father back to the airport. Short but sweet. I kept thinking of that Sole recipe, and after all these years, I decided to make my own version, a dish that represents for me a bit of soul searching I have done during these couple of days with my father. God only knows why!
- one Lemon Sole filet per person
- a pinch of flaked almond toasted
- fresh mint sliced finely
- two handfuls of medium leafed spinach
- two spring onions
- 100 g of butter
- 1 organic lemon
- a few capers
- a few asparagus, grilled
First place some flaked almonds onto a dry tray and toast under the grill. Don’t go too far, it happens quickly. Set aside. Start cooking the spinach with salt, the spring onions sliced and a bit of olive oil until nicely reduced. This will only take a few minutes and I don’t bother with water, I just let the leaves sweat in their own moisture. Set aside also. In a tray with olive oil, grill the asparagus in a hot oven. This won’t take long, five to seven minutes max. on a tray with olive oil, place the Lemon Sole Filets and grill for just a few minutes. Like five and it’s done, big max. You will know by touching the fish, it will get slightly firmer. Sole is a flat fish, so it won’t take long at all. Always skin down though! In a pan, start melting the butter and only when it starts to get a shade hazelnut in colour, squeeze the lemon in the sauce. Stir well and add the sliced mint leaves. Reheat the spinach and asparagus briefly, and pour the sauce over the fish, with the toasted almond flakes and capers. A bit of salt and black pepper and that’s it. I love a bit of fresh orange with the spinach for contrast…
Keep Well and Eat Happy
12 thoughts on “Sole Searching”
Delicious! One of my favorite ways of preparing fish. Amazing photos too. 🙂
Thank you very much! Yes, I agree. I think fish should be treated delicately and simply, with gentle flavors. 🙂
A lemon sole for the soul, that sounds right to me! How nice that you got a visit from your dad. Those visits, as short as two days, always are sweet and energizing. I like that you guys enjoyed some simple yet active time together, it also gives us – readers – a chance to take notes of nice places to eat at when we visit remote locations in Ireland someday. By the way, your dish and artistic plating look fabulous as always. Happy for you that you got to enjoy quality time and fill your hungry tummy with other nice foods!
Thank you Sophie. Yes, it’s been too long. The great thing about Ireland is that there is now a great network of food bloggers or simply foodies. As it is a small country, it is easier to try recommendations by contacting each other. Thanks again! 🙂
Another lovely post Franck. I admire your writing style (as you by now know). Sligo has some great memories for me too. I must drag some of them back up from the recesses.
It must have been great to catch up with you dad too. Happy days!
Thanks Conor! It’s funny, everytime I am not sure about a post you deliver a nice comment so thank you! We should take a spin there one day! 😉
I would really enjoy that. My ancestors hail from that part of the world. Sharon and I spent a lovely weekend exploring and finding the places from whence we hailed. Great fun.
I remember you telling me about your water skiing days. Ok, something to look forward to! 🙂
Your dad looks a laid back and indeed debonair chap and I am glad he was able to come and visit his lad. The fish brings back the happiest memories of my time in Grenoble …. fish from Lac Lémon served in that sauce was my go-to Friday supper either at home or in the little restaurant at the corner of the street …. good times. And I have better times this afternoon when I take time out to read the rest of your postings in my absence including the one you mailed me about Cork. Happy girl indeed (just in need of a fix of that fish!)
Welcome back! 🙂 Thank you! 🙂
Beautiful! Lemon sole was my father’s favourite dish, which seems appropriate on a post all about fathers. Gorgeous landscape shots as always
Thank you 🙂