The first and only time I had Dover Sole, it was, for lack of a better word, magnificent. Sautéed to a golden brown, served with a lush and decadent butter sauce, accented with capers and lemon. Definitely not an everyday meal, to be enjoyed for a special occasion.
The very best European Dover Sole comes from Holland, and is not often found in the US. It should not be confused with Pacific Dover sole, which is not a true sole and is related more closely to flounder. Clean Catch advertised they had fourteen of these special European fish fresh out of the water in Holland and on the way via overnight this week, with the description:
‘The flesh has an exceptional density, with tightly packed flakes that are amazingly juicy. Their aroma when cooked will remind you of savory bacon, and the flavor has a hazelnut sweetness you won’t find in any other fish. There is a buttery richness on the mouth, with an ocean flavor that dissipates slowly with each bite. Dover sole is an indulgence, an experience one you will not experience with any other fish.’
I decided to indulge.
Where to start. The most prominent chef to profess her love for this special fish was Julia Child. In My Life in France, she wrote that eating Sole Meuniѐre on her arrival in France was ‘an epiphany’. I pulled out my copy of Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but much to my dismay Sole Meuniѐre was not included. A Bing search yielded her recipe from The Way to Cook; I tweaked it a bit to my liking. In this recipe, I use cilantro instead of parsley, sauté the fish in butter-infused olive oil, and add lemon and cilantro directly to the butter sauce.
1 European Dover Sole, filleted, skinned, with head removed
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour
2 Tablespoons organic butter-infused olive oil (or other high quality olive oil)
4 tablespoons of clarified butter
Fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons capers
Juice of ½ lemon
Lemon wedges and cilantro
Layout and pat dry the fillets. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge in a light coating of flour, brushing off excess with your fingers.
Heat the clarified butter slowly on low-medium heat in a small saucepan.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil heats up, place filets in the pan, without overcrowding, about 3 to 4 to a skillet. Brown on one side about 1 to 2 minutes, and carefully flip over to brown the other side.
While the fish is finishing browning, add the capers and lemon to the butter. Be aware that these have a pretty violent reaction, and will spatter. Cover with foil if you like until the reaction stops. Add the chopped cilantro and stir gently.
Remove fish to a platter. Spoon the lemon-caper butter sauce over fish. Garnish with lemon wedges and cilantro. Serve immediately.
C’est magnifique! 🙂