A Taste for Tarragon: Mussel-Stuffed Sole in Tarragon Sauce

| June/July 1997

Serves 4 to 6

This dish is elegant company food whose components can be made ahead and assembled quickly just before eating. I sometimes serve it as a first course, with one fillet per person. As a main course, I like it best with boiled or steamed new potatoes, though rice is also a good foil for the flavors.

  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Small handful fresh tarragon, or 6 to 8 vinegar-preserved tarragon sprigs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1¾ to 2 pounds fillets of sole
  • 12 large spinach leaves, cleaned and ­center ribs and stems removed
  • 2 large shallots, finely diced
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  1. Place the mussels, wine, and a fresh or preserved tarragon sprig in an incorrodible pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add water and steam the mussels about 2 minutes, or just until they open. Remove them from the pan, cool, then remove them from their shells. Reserve the liquid.
  2. Carefully rinse the mussels in the liquid and strain it through fine-weave rinsed cheesecloth in a sieve. Press the cloth to extract all the juices. Toss the mussels with about 2 tablespoons of the strained liquor in a bowl. Reserve the remaining liquor for the sauce. Chop enough tarragon leaves to equal about 2 tablespoons. Mix 1 tablespoon of the chopped tarragon with the mussels and reserve the rest.
  3. Divide the fillets in half lengthwise and trim off any bones or skin. Place a spinach leaf on one of the fillets. Place two mussels on the leaf and roll the fillet around the filling. Salt the fillet lightly and place it on a platter. Fill and roll the remaining fillets. Reserve the extra mussels for the sauce. You may hold the rolled fillets, covered and refrigerated, for several hours.
  4. Make the sauce before cooking the fish. Reduce the reserved broth with the shallots in an incorrodible pan to about 1 cup. Add the cream and reduce to about 1 cup. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. You may hold the sauce, covered and refrigerated, for several hours. When ready to serve, place the sauce in a lidded incorrodible pan large enough to hold the fish. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the fillets and cover and simmer for 6 minutes.
  5. Arrange the fish on a warm platter. Stir the reserved mussels and tarragon and the parsley into the sauce. Drizzle some sauce over the fish and pour the rest around them. Serve immediately.

Carolyn Dille is replanting much of her herb ­garden for the sheer dirt-under-the-fingernails pleasure of it. Culinary and medicinal herbs have been her special interest for many years. Her ­latest books are The Onion Book, with Susan Belsinger (Interweave Press, 1996), and Seasons of the Vineyard, with Robert and Margrit ­Mondavi (Simon and Schuster, 1996).

Click here for more recipes with tarragon from the original article, A Taste for Tarragon. 



September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me