Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wrapped Dover Sole

Growing up in a beach town gives you a distinct advantage when it comes to tasting, and liking, fish. It's always available, always fresh, and often caught be people you know. For these reasons, my children have grown up eating, and thus liking, fish. But fish can be tricky... if you're not used to it, or used to eating it, you're allowed to be picky. There are however, several mild-tasting, family friendly fish that always seem to be a hit.

Dover Sole is one of those. A light white fish, it's extremely mild, with a velvety buttery flavor that just melts in your mouth.  It's a small fish, and the fillet are extremely thin (meaning you won't stop at just one), so buy more than you think.  Classically it's prepared by soaking in milk, dredging in flour and breadcrumbs, and pan frying in butter. Delicious, indeed (if you don't believe me, try it)... but I prefer another way, that's a little bit healthier (although I still use butter), and every bit as yummy.

Because it's so thin, I tend to find that it lends itself very well to baking in the oven for a short period of time. By wrapping it in parchment paper you're in effect-steaming it all while adding flavor through herbs and other veggies. You are also allowing yourself to cook all the fillets at once... like I said, it's a thin fish, and one won't be enough.. but unless you are an executive chef with a gourmet kitchen chances are you won't have a pan large enough to accommodate all those fillets at once.


6-12 Dover Sole fillets, according to your families need
1/4 cup white wine per fillet (or two ice cubes, if you freeze leftover wine)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
A handful of Italian parsley, leaves diced
2 bunches of kale, escarole (my fav), chard or other dark leafy green
2 shallots, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of Rice, cooked
Parchment paper, torn in approximately 1 1/2 feet sections (1 per fillet)


Preheat oven to 375. Line a large baking sheet with tin foil to catch drips (I tend to use a jelly roll pan, because it has slight sides, preventing any liquid from spilling onto the oven floor).

Mix softened butter with diced parsley, and set aside. Salt and pepper each fillet. The greens, shallots, garlic and butter mixture will be divided evenly according to the number of fillets you are making. To prepare each fillet: on each piece of parchment paper, center a handful of greens, a little bit of diced shallot, a little bit of garlic, covering them with a fillet. Place a generous spoonful of herbed butter on top of the fillet (while baking, the butter will melt over the fillet and onto the greens.* Fold the left and the right sides of the parchment paper in, toward the fillet, in 1 inch segments (this should create a lip on either side). Grab the top and bottom ends of the parchment paper and bring together at the top. Carefully pour the wine inside the package. Fold down the parchment paper you have the top once again in 1 inch folds, creating a sealed "package".  Place these finished packages on your prepared baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cut open packages using kitchen shears, being careful of the steam they will let off. You can actually serve the fish in the package next to a serving of rice, allowing guests to open it themselves; although I prefer to open, and pour the whole thing over rice.

*If you or a member of your family has a problem with dairy, you can replace the butter with olive oil, rubbing a generous amount over the fillet by hand, then sprinkling the Italian parsley over everything.

**If you can't find Dover Sole, Tilapia would be a great substitution.

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