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Making the dish: Dover Sole

March 1, 2011
By Wendy Monro

When I was little, I used to go to this great Mexican restaurant in California.

I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but I remember the guacamole. I always ordered guacamole because it was like dinner and a show.

The server would wheel over a cart loaded with all kinds of goodies: avocados, jalapenos, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, and more. Right in front of the table, the server would make the guacamole according to my liking.

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Dover Sole with broccoli and potatoes.

I would tell him how much of each ingredient I wanted and he would mix it all together. At last, he would place a large bowl of the most delicious guacamole in the center of the table.

The experience was so much more special than just ordering a bowl of guacamole because it had your own twist to it. It was personalized. I absolutely loved this.

Claud had a similar experience when he was young.

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He has told me many times that ordering Dover Sole was a dish he could have at a restaurant only on special occasions. It was very fancy.

Once someone at the table ordered this fish, everyone was in for a real treat.

The server would bring over the fish and prepare it right at the table in front of your whole party.

The server fried the fish at the table. After frying it for a couple of minutes, he or she could easily fillet it. Dover Sole is known for how easy it is to fillet.

However, watching it was still exciting.

Then, the server would add two teaspoons of Cointreau and light this on fire. After a brief pyrotechnic display, the fish was ready to eat. All it needed was a wine and butter sauce drizzled over the warm fish. I could just imagine how exciting this must have been for Claud to watch when he was a child.

I try to make fish for my family at least two times a week. Sometimes I just keep it frozen and have it to pull out whenever I make it.

Other times, I try to buy it fresh at the seafood section of the market. A couple of days ago, while browsing through the display of seafood at my local market, I spotted Dover Sole.

Hmmm, I thought. I'd like to try making this at home.

I had never tasted Dover Sole before; but, I remembered Claud's story and thought we should give this fish a try.

I was surprised at how thin the fillets were. They were already filleted, so I wasn't able to test out how easy they are to fillet. Oh well.

This fish is called Dover Sole because the English fishing port in Dover was where the most sole was sold in the 19th Century. It must have been a very popular fish in England.

Once I got the fish home, I decided to make it a bit differently. Flambing food is too scary for me.

Claud does this every once in a while and it makes me very nervous. He gets the fire so high, it almost reaches the ceiling. He thinks it's fun; but, I think it is risky. I would instead place a little bit of flour on the fish and lightly fry it to brown it on both sides. Then, I would bake it for a few minutes in the oven. However, I wouldn't forgo the wine and butter sauce. That tradition needed to remain intact.

I made a simple and tasty sauce out of butter, white wine, and parsley. I was really impressed with how good Dover Sole tastes. The mild, buttery flavor was delicious. Because the fillets are super thin, they cook quickly.

If you see Dover Sole in your market, I highly recommend it. It's easy to make and tastes so good.



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