Pan-fried dover sole with caper, lemon and parsley butter sauce
- March 2015
- Serves 2
- Hands-on time 30 min, simmering time 10min, oven time 8 min
Debbie Major’s simple dover sole recipe is perfect for a romantic meal for two.
- 60.7g (33.4g saturated)
- 11.9g (2.6g sugars)
- 50g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 2 x 400-450g sustainable whole dover sole, skinned on both sides (see tip)
- 25g plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
For the sauce
- 1 small lemon
- 2 tbsp dry white wine
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 25g shallots, very finely chopped
- 1 tbsp double cream
- 75g chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1cm pieces
- 1½ tsp small (nonpareilles) capers, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp chopped curly leaf parsley
- Heat the oven to 200ºC/fan180ºC/gas 6. Butter a non-stick baking tray. Trim away and discard the thin frills from either side of each fish, then cut away the head if you wish. Season the fish lightly on each side with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- For the butter sauce, cut off the ends of the lemon, then slice away the skin, removing all the bitter white pith, too. Using a small, sharp knife, cut out the flesh of the lemon segments and put in a bowl. Remove any pips and cut half the segments into small pieces.
- Put the dry white wine, white wine vinegar, shallots and 6 tbsp water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer vigorously until the liquid has reduced to about 2 tbsp. Add the cream and simmer for a little longer until the liquid has reduced back to 2 tbsp. Set aside.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan large enough to accommodate one fish over a medium heat (see Debbie’s tip). Add half the 50g butter and melt without letting it brown. Dust one of the fish in the seasoned flour and knock off the excess. Increase the heat under the pan to high. When the butter is foaming, lay the floured fish in the pan, top-side down, and cook for 2 minutes or until nicely browned. Carefully turn the fish and cook for 2 minutes on the other side, then transfer to the buttered baking tray. Repeat the process with the second fish. Slide the baking tray into the oven and bake for 7-8 minutes.
- Shortly before the fish are ready to come out of the oven, return the sauce to a high heat. Once hot, lower the heat slightly. Using a small, horseshoe-shape whisk, gradually whisk in the 75g chilled butter, a few pieces at a time, until the sauce is smooth and thick. Taste and season with a little salt and some pepper, then stir in most of the capers, parsley and the lemon pieces. Remove from the heat.
- Take the fish out of the oven and check they’re cooked through. (the flesh close to the head should lift away easily from the bones). Lift the fish onto warmed plates and spoon the butter sauce down the middle of each. Sprinkle over the remaining capers, parsley and lemon segments, then serve with boiled potatoes and steamed greens, if you like.
If you can’t get dover sole, you can use lemon sole, plaice or flounder. Ask your
fishmonger to skin the fish if possible, otherwise you can peel off the skin once the fish is cooked.
Debbie says: “You’ll need quite a large frying pan for this dish, so the fish can lie fat while cooking and brown evenly. I’ve written this recipe to feed two, but because the fish are browned in turn, then transferred to a baking tray and finished in the oven, you can adjust the quantities to suit however many people you wish to feed. I like to serve this simply with boiled potatoes and steamed greens: broccoli, curly kale or spinach are ideal.”
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