Sole, Zucchini, and Tomato Napoleon with Tomato-Caper Crudo

“Ten Dollar Dinners” by Melissa d’Arabian is about saving money, feeling good, and eating well. This beautiful tower of sole, zucchini, and tomatoes is a perfect example of how you can take simple ingredients and plate them with grace to elevate an inexpensive piece of fish. Pretty plating doesn’t cost a penny more, yet manages to make a meal seem that much more special. The warm fish paired with the room-temperature vegetables adds to its elegance. To get an extra-polished presentation, gently place a biscuit cutter on top of the sole and lightly pack the tomato-caper crudo in the ring, then carefully remove.

Recipe reprinted from the book “Ten Dollar Dinners.” Copyright © 2012 by Melissa d’Arabian. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.


Serves: 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 8 minutes


For the napoleon:

1 large zucchini, trimmed and very thinly sliced

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 4- to 6-ounce sole fillets, halved crosswise (so you have four 2-inch-wide pieces)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

Good-quality olive oil


For the crudo:

2 large ripe tomatoes, cored

1 small or 1/2 large shallot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


To make the napoleon: Place the thinly sliced zucchini rounds in a colander. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and toss to evenly coat, then place in the sink to drain while you prepare the crudo and broil the fish.


To make the crudo: Slice the cored tomatoes into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Set the 4 nicest slices aside for the napoleon and chop the remaining slices into small cubes. Place the chopped tomatoes in a medium bowl and add the shallot, capers, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Stir and set aside.

Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat the broiler to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the sole fillets on top. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper and broil until fillets spring back to light pressure, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Place 1 tomato slice on each plate and sprinkle with a little of the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Arrange the zucchini slices in an overlapping circle on top of the tomatoes. Set a piece of sole on top of each tomato-zucchini stack. Use a slotted spoon to top each serving with the tomato-caper crudo. Sprinkle with basil, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

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