Folded fillets

Old chien, nouvelle trick! Until now, I’d missed the Heart & Soul episode in which the incomparable Jacques Pepin folded sole fillets before cooking them. Sacre bluefish! :fish: I knew to tuck and tie the narrow ends of pork and beef tenderloins before roasting, and to pound chicken breasts, for even cooking. But it never occurred to me to tuck the ends of fish fillets. He explained that the side the skin was on must be on the inside of the folded portion because it shrinks more and would fight the fold otherwise. He starts them cooking in the pan with folded ends down.

The square portions look neat, and more of them can fit in the pan. This should work whether you saute, poach, or bake. I imagine that securing the fold with a toothpick would allow deep-frying as well. I intend to tuck&toothpick the next time I cook chicken breasts, for that matter.


I assume it works for poached dishes (like sole veronique) but it wouldn’t working a fried dish as you wouldn’t get a crisp skin.

If you left the skin on, no. But this is about skinless fillets.

I’ve folded skin on filets to get the skin crisp, works just fine. If it’s too thick you can put a little cut where the fold will be.

Sorry it wasn’t clear - “was” can mean past tense but also can be present tense e.g. she held his wrist were his watch was.

I also thought it was the skin shrinking faster than the meat that causes the fish to curl, if its a skinned fillet does it still curl…?

< if its a skinned fillet, does it still curl?>
According to JP, yes. He said there are muscles under the skin, which tighten up during cooking.

I wonder if the folding technique only needed for skinned fillets.

The technique for skin on fish is to dry it very well - scraping with a knife to start then using paper towel. Scoring the skin with diagonal cuts. Then putting it in a hot pan and holding it flat until it sets.

I assume when skinned you can’t get it really dry but scoring would work.

The folding is to prevent overcooking of the thin ends. Skin-on fillets aren’t folded, so they are susceptible to this drawback.

It’s generally good technique to try to make everything as symmetrical as possible to achieve even cooking. That’s why chefs tuck the narrow tail end of a beef or pork tenderloin underneath.

I agree in general, but I also enjoy when the tails are extra crispy on a fish. :smiley: