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Sole Fillets with Toasted Pine Nuts, Lemon, and Basil

Steve Hunter

Servings: two.

Fortunato Nicotra, the executive chef of Felidia in New York City, likes to serve this simple Sicilian dish of sole with olive-oil mashed potatoes. If you can’t find sole or flounder, use trout or catfish. It’s easier to sauté the fillets in a nonstick skillet, though you’ll have more brown bits to scrape into the sauce if you use a regular pan.


  • 4 small sole or flounder fillets (about 3 oz. each)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (see How to toast nuts for more flavor and crunch)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 660
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 490
  • Fat (g): 54
  • Saturated Fat (g): 8
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 12
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 32
  • Cholesterol (mg): 80
  • Sodium (mg): 1300
  • Carbohydrates (g): 8
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 41


  • Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Heat 4 Tbs. of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sauté the fillets on one side (in batches if necessary) until the edges begin to turn opaque (about 2 minutes) and then turn them over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to finish. Transfer the fillets as they’re cooked to a warm plate. When all the fillets are cooked and removed from the pan, carefully pour the lemon juice into the pan, scrape up any browned bits, and boil the juice to reduce it to about 1 Tbs., about 1 minute. Add the pine nuts and basil and remove the pan from the heat. Put the fillets on serving plates and spoon the contents of the pan over all. Drizzle the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil over as well.


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Reviews (4 reviews)

  • Indy_G | 10/19/2011

    This is a home run recipe. It's so simple to make and has a fantastic mix of subtle flavours. The basil/lemon/pine nut sauce is sublime. Highly, highly recommend this one.

  • oakparker | 05/09/2010

    The lemon flavor is very strong but the pine nuts and basil go really well with it. It was a bit too intense for me but my husband liked it.

  • User avater
    aislinn | 09/27/2009

    This is not just your run of the mill good recipe. It is excellent and easy! It is perfect for family weeknight dinner. The lemon seems overwhelming but it is balanced by the pinenuts and basil perfectly. My 4yr loves this and even the anti fish eater husband clears his plate. One thing follow recipe to the T. If you don't have basil nothing else will do to cut the strong lemon.

  • Jolka | 06/16/2008

    Surprisingly good! I was scared to add all the lemon juice the recipe called for thinking that it would be too sour, but the flavors blended so nicely and the lemon never took over the roasted pine nuts.

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