refers to both a sauce and a method of preparation. The word itself means "miller's wife" and that etymology provides insight into both culinary uses. The miller's wife of course had easy access to flour, and so to cook something á la meuniere was to cook it by first dredging it in flour. But the mill was also located on a stream and thus often had very fresh fish available. Many of the elaborate sauces and preparations that were developed in the 18th and 19th centuries had an underlying purpose of masking food that had begun to spoil during the several days needed for transport from fishing ports. By contrast the fish prepared by the miller's wife did not need to be masked under a heavy sauce. A meuniere sauce is very simple--browned butter, chopped parsley, and lemon.
Trout Meuniere and its close cousin Trout Meuniere Amandine
(also misspelled Almondine) are bedrock dishes of New Orleans Creole cuisine
. The rich abundance of seafood from the nearby Gulf of Mexico makes the simplicity of the meuniere style appropriate. Galatoire's
claims to sell more Trout Meuniere Amandine than any other dish. Soft-shell crab and redfish are also often available á la Meuniere. Oysters en Brochette
are typically served with a meuniere sauce.
There are two primary ways to prepare the trout (or other fish). One is by sauteing--first dredging the fish in seasoned flour (white flour or corn flour) and then cooking in a hot saute pan with a small amount of butter. The alternative method is to pan-fry or deep fry the floured fish. In pan frying, oil or a combination of oil and butter is used--up to perhaps 3/4 of an inch deep. Deep frying is done in either a large fry pot or in a stand alone deep fryer. The floured fish is completely submerged in the hot oil. The frying techniques result in a crisper texture, but the sauce will need to be made separately. The sauteed fish will have a softer skin by comparison, but allows for the possibility of creating the sauce à la minute
after the fish has been removed by adding fresh butter, parsley, and lemon.
Meuniere sauce is a variation on a brown butter sauce. While there is general agreement on the addition of parsley and lemon, some chefs have been known to include ingredients such as Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, or beef stock. Another common variation is to use pecans rather than almonds.