This is a pretty simple dish which means the basics are very important: sourcing, storing, cooking, seasoning. Dover sole is a fish that benefits from being aged, therefore buy the fish in very good condition and store carefully (and well drained) for up to seven days to improve flavour and texture. I think it’s a good idea to bake the fish whole; the flesh stays in such beautiful condition, and I’ve never really been a fan of cutting fish into perfect squares, anyway. The skin won’t be crisp, in the way that people are often obsessed with, but the texture and flavour it has will be fantastic. I like the mix of earthy kale, salty anchovies and the firm texture of the sole. It’s a fish that can handle the strong flavours and so, all in all, it ends up being quite a gutsy dish.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 500 g kale leaves
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Red wine vinegar, to taste
- 1.2 kg Dover sole (buy as large a fish as you can for what’s necessary)
- Butter, burnt/browned
- 2 branches kale per person
- 40 elderberry capers
- Sprig lemon thyme
- 6 anchovies (buy the best/most expensive: life is too short to bother with bad anchovies)
- Pick the leaves off the lower parts of the kale branch, blanch until very soft, 5 minutes and refresh in iced water.
- Blend in a Vita-prep/Thermomix with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, salt and enough water for it to purée properly.
- Finish with a good red wine vinegar. Think of this purée as a condiment, and therefore season more highly with the vinegar than you would normally. Sole
- Bake the sole on an oven tray at 180°C with a tablespoon of brown butter, salt, capers and sprigs of lemon thyme.
- Remove when the core reaches 40°C and allow the fish to rest and finish cooking. To Serve
- Steam the tops of the kale branch for 2 minutes, until it’s softened but not cooked down fully.
- Take the fish from the bone in chunks and split amongst the plates.
- Cover each piece of fish with chopped anchovy, elderberry, capers and lemon thyme leaves.
- Dress the steamed kale with the juices collected in the fish pan, season further if necessary and add to the plate.
- Add a spoon of the warmed kale purée. Add any remaining cooking juices from the pan.