A matelote, which takes its name from matelot, a French word for sailor, is traditionally a freshwater fish stew made with white or even red wine. This version, from Remy Boquelet of Le Relais St Melaine in Pont l'Éveque, is adapted for fish from the English Channel and cider, the apple "wine" of the region.
- 6 Tbsp. butter
- 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup flour
- 1⁄2 lb. white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 1 1⁄2 cups dry hard cider
- 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (2-lb.) Dover or gray sole, cleaned
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle shallots with 1 tsp. flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are soft, about 15 minutes more.
Increase heat to medium, add cider, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about 15 minutes. Strain sauce through a fine sieve, discarding mushrooms. Return sauce to stove, add cream, and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
Rinse sole, pat dry, dredge in flour, then season with salt and pepper. Melt remaining 4 tbsp. butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add sole and cook until it is browned and crisp, about 2 1⁄2 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with parsley, and serve with sauce spooned over fish.