Want a dish to impress, but have little skill in crafting intense, complex gourmet meals? This is one sure to win you kudos--and fake out anyone enjoying it that you have a master-chef's talent--all without fuss.
The dish is basically thin white fish, in this case sole (but you can use tilapia, flounder, or fluke too), wrapped around a homemade crab cake mixture. Crab cakes are simple to put together. Probably the reason why mere mortals (non-chefs) do not make them often is because of the deep-frying part. But do remember, crab cakes are lovely and delightful simply baked on their own.
Crafting the Crab Cakes
12 ounces fresh lump crab meat, picked over for cartilage, or two cans of crab meat, drained
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced shallot or chives
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs, or prepared bread crumbs such as Progresso, as needed (if using prepared bread crumbs, omit salt and pepper)
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix together the crab meat, egg, bell pepper, shallots, mayonnaise, and mustard. Add sufficient bread crumbs to bind the mixture just enough to form into cakes; start with a little and use more if you need it. Set aside.
Surrounding the Sole
1 pound of Dover sole or other thin white fish (tilapia, flounder, fluke), thawed, if previously frozen
Take each piece of fish and put enough crab cake mixture in it to give it body. Wrap the fish around the crab cake and place the bundle open-end down in a lightly oiled casserole dish. In this way, continue wrapping and placing each fish until you create all the fish bundles. If there is any crab cake mixture left, tuck it inside the fish--it's too good not to use it up.
Sprinkle with paprika, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, olive oil, etc., as you prefer. Last night when I made this dish, I used Old Bay. It has salt and celery seed and other mild spices in it and this gives a bit of color and a bit of salt.
Bake in a 375 degree oven until the crab cakes within the sole are cooked through, about 25 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.
Suggested accompaniment: risotto and salad