roasted lemon sole
Sun, 7 February, 2016
Lemon sole roasted whole with lemons needs only a little lemon juice to drizzle with when cooked.
Lemon sole and other flatfish
Probably the poorest cousin to all the flat fish, lemon sole shares an unpopular postcode with plaice (although the latter deserves a more up-and-coming neighbourhood, surely).
Its flesh cannot match the rich, flaky turbot or the firm, flavoursome Dover. Truth be told – it turns mushy very quickly. It will be good for fishcakes – although filleting best left to the fishmonger – or goujons. No good for a pie, forget about the fish and chips treatment.
How to prepare lemon sole?
What to do with the poor cousin then? I think it depends on the size. If you buy large, fat fillets of the sole, you can make this fancy dish of lemon sole cooked with creamy Parmesan sauce. But whole fish, medium size is perfect for a completely hassle-free cooking exercise, provided you have bought your fish cleaned and gutted, as you undoubtedly would.
How to roast whole sole
It couldn't be easier: roasting it whole on a bed of lemons, lavishly basted with butter. This approach actually works well for lemon sole's more affluent relatives as well as the likes of sea bass and sea bream. All you do is slice the lemons - or limes if you prefer - and spread them in a roasting dish to make a bed for the fish. Any aromatics will be welcome too: ginger or herbs, chilli and garlic if you're after a stronger sensation.
What is roasted lemon sole like?
Surprise, surprise – it’s really tasty and, unless you keep that poor thing in the oven for inordinately long, not mushy. What do you know? I guess there are three secrets to it, like the French cuisine: butter, butter and more butter.
roasted lemon soleServings: 2Time: 40 minutes
- 2 medium lemon soles, cleaned and gutted
- 50g butter
- half a bunch of chives, chopped
- 2-3 lemons
- 2cm fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
- a few fresh basil sprigs
- salt and pepper
- a little white wine or vermouth
1. Rinse the fish and pat dry. Using poultry or kitchen scissors cut the dorsal fins along the both sides and remove the tail. Make two or three shallow incisions on the dark skin side of the soles.
2. Melt the butter in a small pan. Chop the chives and add to the melted butter, be careful not to burn it.
3. Slice the lemons thinly and scatter them at the bottom of an ovenproof dish, large enough to contain the lemon soles. Scatter the ginger slices amongst the lemons, tear the basil sprigs and add them to the dish. Pour the wine over the herbs.
4. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.
5. Arrange the lemon soles on the lemon slices dark side up, season with salt and pepper, brush with the melted butter and bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size, brushing again with butter halfway through.
6. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.