Meunière (UK // or US //; French [mønjɛːʁ]) refers to both a sauce and a method of preparation, primarily for fish. The word itself means "miller's wife". Thus to cook something à la meunière was to cook it by first dredging it in flour. A meunière sauce is a simple preparation—brown butter, chopped parsley, and lemon—and the name refers to its unelaborate rustic nature.
There are two primary ways to prepare the fish (most popularly, sole or trout). One is by sautéing—first dredging the fish in seasoned flour (white flour or corn flour) and then cooking in a hot sauté pan with a small amount of clarified 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 sautéed 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.
Meunière 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 in an amandine.
Trout meunière and its variation Trout amandine (speckled seatrout crusted in almonds, traditionally served with a meunière sauce) are bedrock dishes of New Orleans Creole cuisine. The abundance of seafood from the nearby Gulf of Mexico makes the simplicity of the meunière style appropriate. Galatoire's claims to sell more Trout meunière amandine than any other dish. Soft-shell crab and redfish are also often available à la meunière. Oysters en brochette are typically served with a meuniere sauce.