Perfect Pan-Fried Dover Sole

Perfect pan-fried Dover sole

Serves 2-4


  • Dover Sole
  • Vegetable oi
  • Butter
  • Half a lemon


  1. Timing is 'of the essence'. Your pan should be just quite hot, not very hot. If you've got that right:
    • 250g sole 8-9 minutes. 
    • 350g sole 10-11 minutes
    • 450g sole: about 12 minutes. 
  2. Cut off the head – do this on a slant so that you can also trim away the flimsy chest section too. Next using kitchen scissors and cutting just inside (about 3mm) the edge of the body, cut the fins off. Prick out the blood clot at the top of the spine and wash away. Pat dry with kitchen paper. 
  3. Heat a decent slug of oil in a large frying pan. When it’s hot, add the fish dark side down and push around a bit. Then cook undisturbed for 4 minutes. (These are the timings for a 350g fish.)
  4. Using a fish slice, carefully turn the fish over, then cook the white side for three minutes. 
  5. Now add 50g/2ozs butter in small cubes to the outside of the pan. 
  6. Fry the fish for another two to three minutes, constantly spooning the butter/oil mix over it.
  7. Squeeze half a lemon over the fish and cook for about one further minute. Rest the fish in the pan for two minutes before serving.
  8. To eat the fish, remove the skin by getting the flat of your knife under it and lifting away. Now run your blade edge down the head-tail line. Again using the flat of your knife, and starting from that opened up head-tail line, gently slide the top layer of flesh off the bone in mouthful-sized segments. When you’ve eaten the first layer, pick up the tail of the skeleton and lift it off gently. With a little luck it will come away as a whole.
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