Thursday, July 23, 2015

Incredible Dover Sole

Last week I arrived in the late afternoon and JPSeafood was out of Dover Sole, reporting that, “It just flew out of here.”  They had two thin-sliced Pacific Halibut fillets, which was a good substitute, but this week, I want the real thing. 

JP Seafood is a local fishmonger, a counter in Dan’sFresh Produce on Central Avenue in Alameda, owned and operated by Joey Pucci, from the San Francisco family that has been selling seafood since 1918.  Joey heads down to the docks in the early morning, hand picks the fish, and brings back what is great today.  It’s always fresh and incredible.

This week, I arrive early and I’m in luck and snag two fillets of Dover Sole.  When asked, “Large or small?” I give the only possible answer, “Large!”

I prefer a simple, but incredible, way to prepare sole, a variation and combination of what the French call Sole Meunière and the Italians call Sogliola alla Mugnaia or Sole Miller’s Style.  The focus is on the fish, cooking it simply and then enhancing and complementing the tastes.

The sole fillets are sprinkled in salt and pepper, then dredged in flour.  Meanwhile 2T of butter and a good splash of olive oil heat in a non-stick skillet.  When the butter is melted, I add the sole and cook for up to 5 minutes per side until golden on each side.  I warm the serving plates and also warm another plate in the oven, on which I put the fillets to sit while I quickly make the sauce.

Wiping the skillet clean, I melt more butter and quickly cook roughly equal amounts of crushed red pepper flakes, capers, and Italian parsley in the fresh juice of one lemon.  This mixture quickly thickens.

I plate the fish, drizzle the sauce on top, and serve.  The combination of the lemon, red pepper flakes, and capers perfectly complements the tastes of the sole, giving a burst of flavor with each bite.

The sole always goes well with boiled new potatoes (cooked with a halved head of garlic, salt and black peppercorns, then halved and served with butter), but peach season has arrived and they look so tempting.  So…, while I cook the sole, Laura slices and grills two peaches (first coated with brown sugar and a little balsamic vinegar) and tosses arugula with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of walnut oil.  She then mixes the grilled peaches and arugula with goat cheese and a balsamic reduction (1/2 cup simmered until it is thick and creamy) for a salad of great complementary flavors that perfectly accompanies the sole.

I keep returning to this simple approach to Dover Sole and it always pleases us – simple, quick to make, and incredibly delicious.

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