Two For One: Vichyssoise and Fillet Meuniére: JC100

By on June 28, 2012

Summertime is here and I begin cooking dinner after everyone has left for the day. In our old house, the kitchen can easily become the hottest room. I can fully understand before the advent of air conditioning how, many years ago, the kitchen was completely separate from the main house.

Vichyssoise is a fabulous, satisfying dish that can be enjoyed warm or chilled. Easy to prepare, you can easily do this a day ahead giving the soup a good chance to chill.

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Julia Child’s version is as she put it, ‘an American invention on the leek and potato soup‘.

Fillet Meuniére, the dish that started it all. This is the first French dish that Julia Child enjoyed in France. Thus began her lifelong passion for good food.


for 6 to 8 people


  • 3 cups peeled, sliced potatoes
  • 3 cups sliced white of leek
  • 1 1/2 quarts of white stock,
  • chicken stock, or canned chicken
  • broth
  • 1/2 to 1 cup whipping cream
  • salt and pepper
  • chilled soup cups
  • 2 to 3 Tb minced chives

Simmer the vegetables in stock or broth instead of water. Puree the soup either in the electric blender, or through a food mill (I used a stick blender).

Stir in the cream, season to taste. Oversalting very slightly as salt loses savor in a cold dish. Chill. Serve in chilled soup cups and decorate with minced chives.

Fillet Meuniére

‘A Fresh fillet of sole, flounder or red snapper quickly sauteed in the best butter served with a sprinkling of lemon juice and parsley – it’s quick, easy and fish at its simple best. Of course you can elaborate, and add bread crumbs for a crisp crust exterior – crumbs help a lot when you’ve a fish of no particular distinction. Pan frying is certainly the most direct way of cooking fish, and not only fillets but small fish, too, as well as shrimp, scallops, and lobster, each in its own special way‘ – Julia Child

The Way To Cook

The fillets are scored on the skin side, seasoned with salt and pepper, and just before sauteing they are lightly floured; then you pop them into a frying pay of sizzling butter–a minute or two on each side is all the cooking they need.


Dredging in flour: a light coating of flour gently crisps the outside of the fish while helping it keep its shape as it browns in the pan. To dredge, spread 1/2 cup or more of flour in a plate. The moment before sauteing drop in a seasoned fillet to coat on each side with flour, shake off excess flour, leaving just a dusting. Do only the number of fillets you are about to saute. If you dredge more than a minute or so in advance, the flour gets wet, lumpy and gummy a doleful mess you certainly don’t want on your fresh fish.

Clarified butter: Clarified butter is by far the most satisfactory saute medium to my mind; it browns well, smells wonderful as it cooks, and gives food that unbeatable taste of butter. Sauteing is obviously not for dieters– The simple system is to melt the butter and pour the clear yellow liquid off the residue.

The more professional system is to cut the butter into small pieces for quick melting. Bring it to the slow boil in a fairly roomy saucepan, listening and watching for several minutes until its crackling and bubbling almost cease, indicating the milky liquid has evaporated and the clarification is complete. At this point watch that the butter does not burn and darken.

Pour the clear yellow butter through a tea strainer into a preserving jar. It will turn a yellowish white when cold and congealed, and will keep for months in the refrigerator or freezer.


Originally posted on A Delightsome Life.

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Two For One: Vichyssoise and Fillet Meuniére: JC100