Seared Dover Sole on Roasted Vegetables

Last night we watched Anthony Bourdain's 100th episode of No Reservations, which was filmed in Paris.  We sat there oohing and ahhing over the food and the scenery.  Food amazingly paired and presented, white wine so crisp and fruitful, I felt myself dreaming and drooling a bit.  It is a magical place, one which I cannot wait to get back to.   A segment at Joel Robuchon's L'Atelier  left me craving sole and butter.  One of his chefs cooked a whole bone in sole with simply butter, and removed the filets from the bone in front of his diners.  It was an artist at work. 

So, today I was off to find my sole.  I came home with Dover sole, boneless.  I realize this will make it more difficult to keep the fish together as I cook it because it is such a delicate fish.  A challenge, I shall try to rise to. 

Besides the food we drooled over on the show, one statement rang out to me.  When asked what his last bite of food would be, Robuchon answered, a bite of potato and butter.  His recipe for mashed potatoes?  Two pounds of potatoes, 1/2 pound of butter.  My kind of guy!
1 lb Dover Sole
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Make sure the sole is dry in order to get a good sear on it.  Heat a large heavy well seasoned cast iron pan to smoking hot.  If you are uncertain if the fish will stick to the pan, use a non-stick pan.  Place in 2-3 tablespoons of butter in the pan and as soon as it starts to melt, swirl it around, and sear sole, rounded side down.  Do this in batches not over crowding the pan.  The butter will melt and brown quickly due to the heat of the pan.  Tilt your pan, and ladle the butter over the sole repeatedly.  This whole process will only take a few minutes as the fish will cook very quickly.  Gently remove the fish and flip over showing the seared brown side of the fish to serve.  Repeat this process in a fresh clean pan each time.

Serve with, what else.... mashed potatoes and roasted veggies.  My mashed potatoes recipe is simple.  Peel and cut potatoes into large pieces, approximately 2"x2".  Use right away after peeling.  Boil until you can easily pierce a fork into it, anywhere from 15-25 minutes.  Do not pierce too many times as I find the water penetrates and absorbs away the flavor of the potato. If you have small potatoes, it is better not to peel them until after you boil them.  But I think a larger potato is best.  Once you boil them, the skin should come off easily.  I use a red variety which I grew, pontiac red, I believe they are.  Use a potato ricer to mash the potatoes.  My gals love to do this, so enlist some help.  Depending on how much you are making, the ratio changes of potato to butter and heavy cream.  If you follow Robuchon's method, it could be 1 part potato to 1/4 butter ratio.  I guestimate on what is enough to make the potatoes creamy, and it is usually more than what the average person is comfortable with seeing go into the potato mixture!  But whatever your preference, melt your butter and heat your cream before adding to the potatoes.

For the vegetables, I purchased some Thumbelina carrots, frozen peas, and cauliflower.  No fresh peas to be found, so frozen will have to do.  To that I added some fresh corn we just picked from the garden.  My corn did not fully fertilize.  I knew this going in as in order for the kernels to develop, every piece of silk needs to be pollenated.  And we were only here for part of that period of time to ensure that happened.  As a result, we wound up with corn shorties.  
Scrub carrots and cut into bite sized pieces and do the same with the cauliflower.  Cut corn off the cob.  Heat oven to 425f and melt about 2 tbsp of bacon fat in baking sheet.  What?  No jar of bacon fat in your fridge?  Olive oil is fine as well.  Toss carrots and cauliflower with the oil, salt and pepper and return to oven.  Roast until slightly tender, about 15 minutes.  Add in the corn and roast for another 5 minutes.  Then add in the peas and roast for another 5 minutes.  

The vegetables were excellent.  Mashed potatoes buttery sweet.  Dover sole, tender, fresh and well, buttery!


  1. Looks delicious. just bought some Dover sole and will try that with veggies tonight.


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