Sautéed Petrale Sole in Herb Butter Sauce

DinnerQuick and EasyLow CarbFish

Pacific petrale sole fillets, quickly sauteed and served with a sauce of white wine, shallots, butter, and herbs.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Raised Catholic, I grew up eating fish every Friday (not just during Lent as the custom goes these days). Often it was just a simple tuna macaroni salad, but we kids were exposed to a variety of fish and seafood on a regular basis.

Thank goodness! We still eat fish almost every Friday (old habits die hard) and are always looking for new ideas to cook with the fresh fish we find at the market.

Here is a recipe for petrale sole (a Pacific flounder) that is served with a quick sauce made with shallots, white wine, and butter. You could use this sauce over any mild fish fillet.

Do you have a preferred way of preparing sole fillets? Or other Lenten dishes? If so, please let us know about it in the comments.

Sautéed Petrale Sole in Herb Butter Sauce Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh petrale sole fillets
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons, cut into 4 pieces, cold, unsalted butter
  • Fresh thyme leaves (or any fresh herb for flavor)
  • Minced fresh chives
  • Lemon wedges (use Meyer lemons if available)


1 Pat dry the fillets, lightly salt: Pat the sole fillets dry with paper towels. There is a lot of moisture in Petrale sole, so you might have to pat them dry twice.

Lightly salt the fillets on both sides.

2 Brown the fillets on both sides: Heat oil in a large, stick-free skillet on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the fillets to the pan. Brown the fillets gently on both sides.

Fish is cooked when it flakes easily and is no longer translucent. Sole fillets will cook up very quickly, no more than a few minutes on each side, so don't walk away from the pan while cooking. Once done, remove the fillets from pan and place on a warm plate.

3 Cook shallots: Add shallots to the pan and sauté until soft.

4 Make sauce: Add white wine to the pan with the shallots to deglaze the pan, and scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan.

Add butter and gently swirl to make a sauce. Add herbs, and squeeze a little lemon juice into the sauce. Spoon over the sole.

Serve immediately.

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Adapted from a recipe in a newsletter from Paul Martin's Bistro.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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18 Comments / Reviews

No ImageSautéed Petrale Sole in Herb Butter Sauce

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Nandita

    Fabulous flavors! It was my first time cooking petrale sole and I was pleased to find I had all the ingredients to make this recipe.


  2. Pam Garson

    Easy and seemed like I cooked a gourmet meal in minutes!!


  3. Jay

    Large sole, head off. Poach in large frypan with lid and a twisted ring of 7 lemongrass leaves, one pat of butter, one teaspoon rocksalt. 3 minutes simmer, remove to plate, skin and lift fillets off to a hot plate. The lemongrass removes the overly fishy flavour.

  4. Carol Miranda

    Lenten season here in Mumbai India, most catholic homes eat only fish on Fridays now with the global situation try to eat only veg. during Lent and no alcohol till Easter. But one favourite dish was mackerel marinated with lemon juice and slit in the middle, stuffied with a masala paste of marinated onions, chili powder, tamarind and turmeric and the fish is tied and then pan fried on low heat on both sides. Simply divine with crusted brown bread. !

  5. Mary

    Elise, I prepare tilapia like this quite often; it’s a great quick meal, and with fresh herbs growing on my patio, I can always pick something a little different to change the recipe just a bit. Love it!

    Teresa, I just tried your layered recipe, and WOW, it was awesome! Here were my variations:
    *I used salmon filets because they were on sale (don’t we love a good salmon sale??)
    *I added some sliced garlic on top of the spinach.
    *I placed lemon slices on top of the fish.
    *I added a little white wine to the sauce.
    At about 1/2 cup total liquid, I think I started with a little too much liquid because my spinach boiled instead of steaming, but the flavor was fantastic, so we didn’t mind.
    Next time, I would really make the fennel layer very substantial or maybe even add a star anise. It added such an interesting flavor to the sauce, and I think I want to try to bring it out a little more next time. I say pack that skillet base with the fresh fennel!

    I’ll definitely be making this again soon, maybe with a white fish next time. Thanks for sharing!

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