I was born in a relatively large city—the second largest in my state, in fact.
I liked this a fair bit, but it wasn't until I moved for the second time that I discovered something that changed the way I viewed everything from recreation to food: the ocean. This was the first time I became aware of the bounties the ocean has to offer, and I was hooked from the very start.
Of all the different seafood I had the pleasure of trying, Dover sole was always one of my favorites for its mild taste and soft texture. Dover sole is also known as black sole or common sole It's got a nice flavor that works perfectly for anything from pan frying with a light crust to a sole meuniere, one of the classic uses for Dover sole.
For those who haven't been lucky enough to get a taste of the delectable Dover sole, here's everything you need to know about it including a few ways to prepare it.
What Is Dover Sole?
Dover sole belongs to the flatfish family of fish, which includes fish like halibut and flounder. It got
its name for the port of Dover in England, which was the top sole-catching port during the 19th century. Aside from its flavor, the common sole became a popular choice among chefs because its fillets hold together well which allows you to use it in just about any recipe imaginable.
Aside from the port of Dover itself, black sole can be found in other parts of the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and even parts of the North Sea where the water is warmer during the winter. While most of the sole in the world come from commercial deep sea fishing, you can also catch sole by fishing from the shore on the beach.
Compared to other fish, Dover sole is sold at a pretty reasonable price. It can be found in many places, including the tackle box food truck, for about $6.99 per pound, while other types of fish like salmon may cost as much as $17 per pound. If you live near one of the oceans where common sole can be fished easily, you can get a great price on sole fresh from the sea.
Like many fish, sole is a healthy choice for many reasons. They are relatively low in calories, high in protein, and low in fat. Plus, common sole also has some selenium in it, a compound which has been shown to improve immune and endocrine system health.
Fish Similar to Sole
Of all the fish in the sea, flounder are probably the most similar to sole. Both are flatfish which live in similar environments, so their flavor and texture are close enough that you can substitute flounder in a recipe that calls for sole.
There are a decent number of fish that taste similar to sole, but the texture is what's really different from other fish. While fish like tilapia are a bit more solid, black sole is a very delicate fish that's just solid enough to stay together.
Getting Started Cooking with Sole.
You have a number of different options when it comes to cooking sole, but none are as popular as sole meuniere, a pan fried fish fillet that's served in the very same sauce that's created by cooking it.
You begin making sole meuniere by melting some butter in a pan, dredging your fresh sole fillet in flour, then fry the fish in the butter with parsley and lemon. The lemon, parsley, fish, and butter all come together to create a rich and flavorful sauce that's then served atop the fillet of sole on a plate.
If you've never tried sole meuniere, you absolutely have to; it's one of those classic flavor combinations like filet mignon and shallots that's stood the test of time as one of the intrinsically great pairings.
Another popular way to cook Dover sole is to simply bake it in the oven using a Mediterranean recipe. This involves cooking the sole with an array of spices and flavors, including lime or lemon juice, capers, shallots, garlic, butter, and dill.
The best part about cooking with black sole is that it's relatively easy to prep and incredibly quick to cook. Since sole fillets are thinner than many other types of fish, it only takes about 10 or 15 minutes to bake in the oven. If you're making sole meuniere, it will still only take you about 10 minutes to cook the sole all the way through.
Now that you know all about Dover sole, it's time to take the next step and head down to your local market. Grab yourself a few fillets of sole, some herbs, and lemons, and whip up a delicious sole dish that will fill your belly, leave your wallet fat and warm your soul.