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18 October 2013

Sole With Lemon Butter Sauce and a Trip to the French Riviera, Menton & Mougins


A number of items in my possession have sentimental value more than their monetary value. I hang on to them because they have a story and feeling, each of them, whether it's a gnarled appetizer fork, a bandanna that I will never be caught dead walking around with or a very old shirt that for any other person, merits to be buried in the garbage. They make me feel human, in touch with my past.


I didn't have any idea that my 8-year old son's exploding drawers containing what I thought were garbage were actually things of sentimental value. From the time he was in kindergarten, we were unaware that he had been stashing little notes, receipts, ribbons, broken pens, beads, strings in his treasure land. They were actually items that we handed him to throw but instead, he kept them as something of value that aids his memory. And he even remembers who handed him each one and the stories weaved around each object. 


During our recent trip to France, he accumulated some odd objects that were his souvenirs from most places we visited. Some of these items are stones he collected from Mougins and an already empty big Tic Tac mints container that he bought in Menton. He kept them in his pockets throughout the trip but they fell off in the backseat of my friend's car. Now the stones are in my friend's garden waiting for my son's return.


I, instead, took home something that reminds me of that trip, the weekend my friend took us in her beautiful home, cooked for us and kept us company in a wonderful relaxing weekend in the French Riviera. She cooked up a storm but one of the dishes that stuck to my memory is this sole dish. I remember her in her kitchen cleaning the sole and us discussing how to go about cooking them on the pan, when to turn the fish and our hilarious moments in High School when we went to the beach for an overnight trip without any idea on how to clean the fish we bought and cook them on the grill. We need things to see to help us rekindle fond moments in our lives. I will always attach this dish to that memorable afternoon in my friend's kitchen preparing our last dinner in the south of France.


The pictures you see from above until the restaurant under are from Menton, the very first seaside town after the border of France and Italy. What greets you in this town is the beautiful scenery of the group of colorful buildings with the church protruding on the right side and the beach on the left. It's a typical riviera panorama that's typical of this area, whether it's in the Italian side or the French side.


On the right side of the town, where the buildings are, you can find all sorts of shops, restaurants and hotels. In the peak summer season, it's bursting with people walking along the main pedestrian road giving the town a festive mood.




When we were there, already running very late to find a restaurant that will still accept us for lunch, some nice shopkeepers suggested this restaurant that they themselves go to sometimes. A' Boire A' Manger Bistrot (rue du Vieux Collège), located just a little bit away from the main tourist hub in a rather quiet alley was a simple, nice and friendly place where we ate delicious French food (plus a burger for our son) with reasonable prices. It can be an idea to go to when you happen to get confused with all the possibilities in front once you are immersed in the center of activities of this nice town.


Mougins. The small upscale ancient village in the vicinity of Cannes and Grasse. This old village is associated with artists, celebrities and chefs who frequented and lived there like Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Arman, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Alain Ducasse, Roger Vergè, to name a few.


It's a small town enriched with the importance of art and gastronomy that walking around the alleys, you will encounter a lot of artists' galleries and restaurants. There's a touch of playfulness and creativity with the colorful garden chairs, tables and window shutters.









Given its strong gastronomic history, good restaurants are abound. Arriving at such a late hour for lunch, when all the restaurants were not accepting diners anymore, Restaurant Le Rendez-vous de Mougins, located right at the heart of the square, took us in for a late lunch and introduced us to a wonderful French cuisine experience. The food was superb and the service was very good plus they are nice to latecomers!



This had been the French part of the Riviera series that I went to last August. I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the two towns I shared in this post. The last of the Italian Riviera series is still in the making. Sorry for that, I have been really busy lately. On a positive note, I was recently named by The Smart Living Network as one of the Top 10 Food Bloggers to Follow in Pinterest.  That's wonderful, isn't it? 

Wishing you an enjoyable weekend! 



Sole With Lemon Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • 2 sole, cleaned 
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Flour to coat fish + 1/2 teaspoon for the sauce
  • Extra virgin olive oil (or olive oil)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon (you can adjust the amount according to your taste)
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped
Directions:

  1. Rub the fish with salt & pepper.
  2. Coat with some flour then shake off the excess.
  3. Over medium heat in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, brown both sides of the fish. When they are cooked, transfer them to a plate with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  4. In another saucepan, melt the butter.
  5. Add the lemon then season with salt & pepper.
  6. Add the flour then the parsley.
  7. Pour the sauce on the sole. Serve warm.