Dover Sole is named after the Common Sole (also thought of as the ‘King of Sole’). It is found in the Eastern Atlantic ocean and is fairly common around the shores of Britain. The town of Dover figures in the name by virtue of having been the main fishing port for the London market in the 19th century. The name has simply stuck. The “Sole” refers to the shape of the fish – a bit like the sole of a shoe. Chefs prize Dover sole for its mild, buttery, sweet flavour and versatility, and for its ease of filleting.
COOKING / EATING BENEFITS
Most sole is gutted upon landing and is available whole or occasionally as fillets. It’s available all year round but is at its best from April to June. Dover sole can be grilled, fried or poached. This superb fish inspired many classic dishes such as Poached Sole Bonne Femme (meaning cooked simply), Sole Veronique (cooked with grapes and vermouth) and Sole a la Meunière (sole with a sauce of browned butter, parsley and lemon juice). With dark brown skin and a longer and narrower shaped body than other flat fish, Dover Sole has a crisp white flesh, firm to touch, with an almost sweet taste. It’s traditionally cooked on the bone, with the upper skin stripped off prior to cooking. It works best cooked as simply as possible and is ideal with flavoured butters or simple sauces.