Sole is a fish prized for its mild, delicate flavor. It is an ocean fish of the flatfish family. Commercially harvested sole in the U.S. are trawled from the west coast (petrale sole, dover sole and flathead sole) and marginally from the east coast (grey sole).
The native habitat of the sole is the north Pacific, from Japan, across the Bering Sea and to the coast of North America, as far south as Point Reyes, California.
Method of Catch
Most sole are caught via trawlers, which are fishing boats that drag nets on or near the ocean floor. They are also caught by long line, gigging and hook-and-line methods.
Sole have both eyes on one side of the head—they lay on the ocean floor and look up to seek prey. The top of the fish is dark, which helps camouflage it from predators, and the bottom is white.
Flatfish eat shellfish and crustaceans when they are young, and add live fish to the menu when they mature. Soles feed intensely in June, July and September, when they are in shallow waters.
Whole sole range in size from 1 to 5 pounds. Fillets are very thin, and can be quickly pan-fried or pan sauteed (2 to 3 minutes per side), or baked with herbs at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. It's done when you can flake the thick end with a fork.