Pan-Fried Sole with Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

“I think it’s good for a person to spend time alone. It gives them an opportunity to discover who they are and to figure out why they are always alone.”- Amy Sedaris

Fancy table for one.

I really settled into the whole “dinner for one” thing when I first moved to Paris after college. I had no friends, no roommate, and apparently my French wasn’t nearly as good as I thought. Since I hadn’t started my culinary training yet, I wasn’t exactly cooking up a storm in my tiny Parisian apartment. Plus the stove only worked fifty percent of the time, and I was using the oven as storage space for my sweaters.

After a week or so of eating yogurt and toast for dinner, I realized I needed to re-evaluate my eating habits. And my social life. So, I decided to start taking myself out to dinner. Nothing fancy, just various cafes in my neighborhood where I would sit and have a decent meal, a glass of wine, and scope out potential new friends. I actually came to love these classy solo dates (I’m the funniest, smartest person I know), and despite the language barrier, the waiters would sometimes leave their numbers in my check. I took this as a compliment  (I love compliments), and you better believe I held onto those numbers just in case my social life didn’t pick up. Desperate times, desperate measures.

Unfortunately, my newfound passion for dining out began to put a serious dent in my budget. So it’s lucky that I started at Le Cordon Bleu a few weeks later and quickly picked up some basic kitchen skills. I also picked up some new friends, thank GOD. But there were still plenty of “opportunities” for dinner for one. Except instead of going out, I made dinner for myself. Because I’m domestic, and you can be too.

Yeah yeah, I know sometimes you eat dinner at work* or go out with friends, but I guarantee that if you are in your twenties, you spend at least one night a week having dinner at home. Alone. This dinner is usually take-out or a weird cupboard creation. For example, last week a friend texted me a picture of her dinner:

Melba Toast, Nutella, cereal, and beer…

While this picture made me a little sad, it’s not the first time I’ve seen this type of meal. When left to his own devices, my roommate eats string cheese and tortilla chips or throws whatever is in the fridge in a pan with a disgusting amount of hot sauce. Classy. Listen, I’m not saying that I’m making five-star meals for myself every time I have a night alone. In fact, last Monday I had a bag of candy corn and a Gatorade for dinner. I’m not proud of it, but it was a game-time decision and these things happen. My point is: We can do better.

I can hear your excuses already. Why would you cook when you can eat Chinese food in your sweatpants? Because cooking for one is fucking fabulous.** If you pick a simple recipe that has only a few, individually sold ingredients, cooking is actually cheaper than takeout. Also, you can make yourself something delicious in less than the amount of time that you would have wasted waiting for your food to be delivered. Fact.

So, every once in a while, take the time to whip up a fresh, healthy, and delicious meal for yourself.  Like this pan-fried sole with sautéed zucchini and cherry tomatoes:

It costs about 8 dollars and is ready in less than 20 minutes. Dim the lights, pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy the pleasure of your own company. Because you’re worth it.

*What’s that like?
**More importantly, Chinese food makes you bloated and sweatpants are not acceptable dinner attire. You know this.

 

Pan-fried Sole: (Serves 1)
Ingredients:
1 Sole filet
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of ½ a lemon
Salt
Fresh ground pepper

 

Preparing your sole:

-Pat the filet dry with a paper towel and season both sides with salt and fresh ground pepper.

-Heat the olive oil in a pan. When it is very hot, add the sole. After about two minutes gently flip the filet over.

-Allow the sole to cook for another two minutes then squeeze the lemon juice over the filet. Cook 1 more minute and remove from the pan. Voila! Perfectly cooked fancy fish for one!

*Don’t like fish? Fine, be that way. Ask your butcher for a single steak (or any cut of beef) or a pork chop. Pan-fry it. Boom. Non-fishy dinner for one.

 

Sautéed Zucchini with Cherry Tomatoes: (Serves 1)

Ingredients:
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow onion
1 large handful cherry tomatoes (about ten)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pinch red chili flakes
Salt

 

Preparing your vegetables:

-Cut the zucchini in half length-wise and slice into ½ inch pieces. Thinly slice the onion, and mince the garlic.

-Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat and add the garlic. Sauté one minute until fragrant. Add the zucchini, onions, and chili flakes and sauté until tender about 8 minutes.

-Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the zucchini and onions. Sauté another 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes soften.

-Gently crush the tomatoes with the back of a fork to release the juices. Salt to taste, and serve. Simple, fresh, and delicious!

Pan-fried Sole

Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 Sole filet
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Pat the filet dry with a paper towel and season both sides with salt and fresh ground pepper.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan. When it is very hot, add the sole. After about two minutes gently flip the filet over.
  3. Allow the sole to cook for another two minutes then squeeze the lemon juice over the filet. Cook 1 more minute and remove from the pan.
http://domesticate-me.com/table-for-1/

Sautéed Zucchini with Cherry Tomatoes

Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 large handful cherry tomatoes (about ten)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch red chili flakes
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Cut the zucchini in half length-wise and slice into ½ inch pieces. Thinly slice the onion, and mince the garlic.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat and add the garlic. Sauté one minute until fragrant. Add the zucchini, onions, and chili flakes and sauté until tender about 8 minutes.
  3. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the zucchini and onions. Sauté another 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes soften.
  4. Gently crush the tomatoes with the back of a fork to release the juices. Salt to taste, and serve.
http://domesticate-me.com/table-for-1/

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