Rao’s Filet of Sole with Fennel and White Wine



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Italian Christmas eve dinner is a gut-busting, table-overflowing bash of seafood-centric bounty. For many Italian Americans, it is often referred to as the Feast of the 7 Fish, the number meant to represent in the Catholic religion either the seven virtues, or possibly the seven sacraments. Some say the number is actually 12, for the apostles. But the only thing that can be agreed upon completely is what isn’t so much about a specific number as that the meal contain no red meat.

Try this delicious recipe from Frank Pellegrino Jr., one of the owners of the storied Italian eatery, Rao's resturant in Harlem, New York City.


  • 2 cup sliced fresh fennel bulb
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 6 large pieces fillet of sole, about 2 pounds
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Juice of 1 ½ lemons
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1:

  • Place fennel in a small pan of rapidly boiling water. Boil for about 3 minutes or until fennel is tender but still crisp. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Pat dry.

Step 2:

  • Lightly dredge the fish in the flour, shaking off any excess.

Step 3:

  • Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute the fish for about 3 minutes or until lightly golden. Drain all oil from the pan. Add 2 tablespoons butter. When melted, add wine, broth, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Lower heat and add fennel and salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Step 4:

  • Using a slotted spoon, remove fish and fennel from the pan and transfer to a large, warm serving platter. Return pan to high heat and whisk in remaining butter. Boil for about 1 minute or until sauce has thickened slightly. Pour over fish and fennel and serve