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.

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.

Step 2

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Step 9

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

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.

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.

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.

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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