Reconstructed Sole à la Meunière

That fillet of sole looks thick, doesn’t it? That is because the two fillets have been ‘glued’ together with transglutaminase, a natural enzyme sold as Activa RM (USA) or Activa EB (Europe). This way the sole has its original shape and thickness, but without the bones inside! It is as if the bones were removed by magic.

I cooked it sous-vide and then pan-seared it, so it was super juicy. (Please note that sous-vide is not required to use this trick, you could also pan sear the sole and finish it in the oven.) The extra thick fillet sole served with oven-roasted potatoes and a salad was a wonderful meal.


I had asked my fish monger to fillet the sole into only one fillet per side. Sole is often filleted into two fillets per side.

I trimmed the thin ‘flaps’ on the side.

I seasoned the fillets on the ‘outside’ with salt and freshly ground white pepper.

On the ‘inside’ I coated one of the fillets with a slurry of 10 grams Activa with 40 grams cold water.

Then I fitted them together again…

…and vacuum sealed the reconstructed sole. I allowed the transglutaminase to work its magic for 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Then I cooked the sole sous-vide for 30 minutes at 42ºC/108ºF.

I patted the sole dry with paper towels…

…and sprinkled it with flour.

I heated clarified butter in a non-stick frying pan…

…and browned the sole briefly over high heat. Clarified butter does not burn like regular butter, and it provides better flavor and better browning than oil.

I also browned the other side. As the sole is already cooked sous-vide, I only browned it long enough to give it a nice golden color (less than 1 minute per side).

I served the sole with a slice of lemon, oven-roasted potatoes, and a simple salad. This is a neat trick that I will definitely use again.


The trick to making outstanding jerusalem artichoke risotto (sunchoke risotto) is to include the peels in the homemade stock used for the risotto.


11 thoughts on “Reconstructed Sole à la Meunière

  1. So, was it worth it? I’d love for you to start adding a “verdict” of some sort on your posts like these! I’m just curious, because you know how to cook a thin filet of sole properly, and you don’t need to make it double thickness in order to cook it to where it’s nice and moist. Or are you just having fun playing with these products??!!!!!!!


    1. I see what you mean. Yes, it was definitely worth it. Compare it with a steak. Even if both are perfectly cooked, the ratio of moist tender medium-rare interior to crust is different in a 1/2″ steak than in a 1″ steak. It’s the same with the sole. Both are good, but the thicker one seems more ‘luscious’.


  2. Fascinating stuff, Stefan. Mimi asked and you answered my question. I don’t know if I’ll ever try it but it’s good to have a trick like this in the repertoire. Thanks.


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