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Sole is an exquisite fish, and, like the turbot a fish that characterises the days of grand dining where the fish would be filleted at the table or cooked and served with elaborate garnishes of turned vegetables, sliced truffles and piped potatoes. In recent years chefs have turned their backs on the heavy sauces of yesteryear, preferring instead to let the fish show of its quality in its own right. I can think of little better than a whole sole lightly dusted in flour and cooked in butter.

Lemon Sole
Solea solea otherwise known as Dover Sole is the true sole, lemon sole and Torbay sole are not strictly speaking proper sole. This should not however, detract from praising the eating quality of lemon sole, which are a perfectly good flat fish and an excellent cheaper alternative to the true specimen.

Sole is most commonly found in the North Sea and around the Bay of Biscay, Dover sole can be identified by its rough textured skin and narrow body whilst the lemon sole has a smooth, slimy dark brown skin and wider body.

Aside from the taste the sole scores points on ease of use. They can be cooked whole with the skin on or off or easily filleted by running the knife along the central bone and gently lifting the fillets away prior to cooking if cooking space is limited. Personally I prefer to cook sole on the bone, it cooks better this way and the fillets are easily removed once the fish is cooked. Cook with plenty of butter to help retain moisture and serve it with the cooking butter, some chopped parsley and a wedge of lemon, nothing else comes close.

Content and picture Miles Collins