Monday, March 9, 2009

3 ways to cook the sole fish

Sole is considered as the finest of all fish as it is a lean fish, easy to digest and always sweet and delicious. Sole is an excellent source of high-quality protein, rich in vitamin B, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, selenium, iodine and iron.

The most well known is the Dover sole that was only found in the coastal waters of England. Today, it is found in the Mediterranean and off the coasts of Norway. Nowadays, many flatfish are called soles which make it very confusing. Lemon sole is a fancy name for winter flounder, sometimes called witch flounder. Gray sole is a similar variety, known to fishermen as black back and is more commonly used in Chinese cuisine. Fluke is summer flounder. It is called ikan sebelah in Bahasa Malaysia.

All flatfish have both their eyes on the upper side of their bodies, and they often are identified by whether the eyes are on the right or the left. In other words when the fish is laid down with its dark side up and its dorsal fin on top, you can see whether the eyes are on the left or the right. Dover sole, which have extremely small, rounded heads, have their eyes on the right.

This is the dark top side of the sole.

This is the lighter other side of the sole.

Sole can be cooked whole or filleted and can be oven-baked, grilled, poached, steamed, prepared en papillote, pan-fried or seared, sautéed or deep-fried. Marinating in oil, lemon juice, white wine or soya sauce helps to bring out the full flavour of sole. Deep-drying or pan-frying in butter can increase the fat content of the cooked fish considerably. Steaming or poaching preserves the low fat content of the fish.

Fried whole sole
1 small whole sole fish, cleaned and gutted
Lemon juice
Soya sauce
Garlic powder
All-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
Garlic chips
Vegetable oil for frying

In a large bowl, mix lemon juice and soya sauce and marinate the fish for about 1 hour. During confinement, use Shaoxing wine instead of lemon juice.

Combine the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Coat the fish in the flour mixture immediately before frying to prevent the flour from becoming “gummy”.

Heat the oil in frying pan to around 350 F and gently slide in the floured fish. Fry, turning once, until both sides are golden brown and exterior skin is “crunchy”.

Place in serving platter. Sprinkle with fried garlic chips and garnish with lime slices, if desired. Serve with cooked vegetables or salad.

Pan fried sole

This is the fillet which is excellent for cooking baby’s porridge or pan fried for older children. The fillets are quite expensive therefore I find it cheaper to buy the whole fish and have it filleted for free. Remember to ask for the bones and the head.

Use the same marinate as for cooking the whole sole. Just before frying or grilling dust with a little flour.

Heat a little cooking oil and a knob of butter in the frying pan. Put in the fish and fry until slightly brown on both sides.

Serve with cooked vegetables or salad.

Sole fish soup

The bones can be used to make delicious soup or stock for porridge. Use a pair of scissors and cut the bones into fairly big pieces. Deep fry the bones and keep it aside.

Wash and soak the Sze chuan vegetable for about 10 minutes to remove the saltiness of the vegetable. Slice and put the vegetable and a few slices of ginger into the boiling stock. Simmer for about an hour. Add sliced tomatoes, bean curd and the fried fish. Simmer for another 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


Ann said...

You know....I have never cooked with Sze Chuan veg. Everytime I want to eat something Sze Chuan, I have to eat out.

Must try cooking Sze Chuan one day...

IKSMOM said...

Where can you buy Sole fish here in Singapore apart from places like Cold Storage? I have yet to see them in the wet market. Please do tell. Tyank you.

Cecilia said...

I do not know where you can buy the sole fish in Singapore. Here in Malaysia, we can get it at all the hyper-markets and the local wet markets.