The Best Way to Cook Dover Sole


The best way to cook a world-class ingredient like a Dover sole is to keep the recipe simple so the fish is the main focus of the plate. Dover sole is a bottom-dwelling flatfish that swims horizontally and has a different body structure from most fish. Dover sole has become a featured seafood item on gourmet restaurant menus around the world. Seafood connoisseurs appreciate the delicate texture and subtle flavors of this flatfish.

The Best Way to Cook Dover Sole
(Rina Summer/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil or clarified butter
  • Heavy sautee pan
  • Broad spatula
  • Stove
  • Oven
  • Clean needle-nose pliers
  • Warm plate
  • Lemon wedge
Step 1

Purchase whole skin-on Dover sole fillets or ask your fish monger to remove both fillets from the whole flatfish. You could also fillet your flat fish at home.

Rina Summer/Demand Media
Step 2

Add the flour, salt and pepper to a shallow dish and mix them thoroughly with clean fingers.

Rina Summer/Demand Media
Step 3

Peel the dark skin from the back of the Dover sole fillets and dredge them quickly in the dish of flour to lightly coat all sides.

Rina Summer/Demand Media
Step 4

Warm the olive oil or clarified butter over medium heat in a sautee pan with a heavy bottom until smoke begins to rise from the surface.

Rina Summer/Demand Media
Step 5

Lower the Dover sole fillets into the hot sautee pan one at a time so there is approximately 2 inches of space between them.

Rina Summer/Demand Media
Step 6

Gently turn the fillets over with a broad spatula when the first side is golden brown. Each side will only need about 90 seconds, so don't go far.

Rina Summer/Demand Media
Step 7

Move the sautee pan into a preheated 350-degree Fahrenheit oven when the fillets have been on the second side for approximately 90 seconds.

Rina Summer/Demand Media
Step 8

Check the internal temperature of the fillets after they have baked for three minutes by inserting a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the flesh.

Rina Summer/Demand Media
Step 9

Close the oven door and check in one-minute intervals until the internal temperature is between 158 and 160 degrees F.

Rina Summer/Demand Media
Step 10

Lift the cooked fillets from the pan with the broad spatula and move them to a draining rack to cool and drain for one minute.

Rina Summer/Demand Media
Step 11

Pull out any bones that protrude from the flesh of the Dover sole fillets with a clean pair of needle-nose pliers. Cooking the fish shrinks the flesh and makes the bones easier to see and remove.

Rina Summer/Demand Media
Step 12

Move the cooked Dover sole to a warm plate and squeeze a lemon wedge over it to release just a few drops of juice.

Rina Summer/Demand Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • You may also try making a basic lightly flavored herb and wine sauce to serve with Dover sole fillets. Avoid strong flavors like robust cheeses and heavy spicing.
  • Warn guests that there may be a few tiny bones remaining that were missed.


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