Chef Box Series: Whole Dover Sole with Almond Brown Butter Sauce (Simplified)
An elegant fish to cook whole, Dover sole is a flat fish native to the North Atlantic. This dish has been a customer favorite at The Banks since the restaurant opened.
RECIPE BY CHEF ROBERT SISCA OF THE BANKS FISH HOUSE IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
- 1 whole dover sole
- ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted (reserve 2 tablespoons for topping)
- 1 ½ lemons, juiced
- 12 tablespoons butter (1½ sticks), kept cold
- 3 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves picked
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the sliced almonds in a single layer on a sheet pan and put in the oven to toast. Keep a close eye on your oven. Once the almonds start to color, they can burn quickly. When they have a touch of golden color, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool. This step can be done in advance. Store the toasted almonds in an airtight container at room temperature.
Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the broccolini. Cook the broccolini in the water for 1-2 minutes or until desired tenderness. The broccolini should retain some firmness. Drain and set aside.
Once the Dover sole is defrosted, rinse it with water and pat it dry. Do not be alarmed if there are lobes of roe in the cavity of the fish. They should remain inside the fish for cooking, and many people find the roe delicious.
Raise your oven temperature to 450 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil and arrange the fish on the pan. Rub the whole fish with olive oil and season the outside with salt and pepper. The fish can be cooked whole with no additional butchery. If you are comfortable with a little butchery (or are willing to learn with a demo video by Chef Robert, see the alternate version of this recipe online).
Bake the whole fish uncovered for 10-15 minutes.
While the fish bakes, gently brown 1 stick of butter in a pan being careful not to let the milk solids burn. Add in the lemon juice and then the remaining cold butter (½ stick) one tablespoon at a time, constantly whisking to create a smooth, emulsified sauce. Once all the butter is melted and the sauce is a uniform consistency, add in the almonds and parsley. Taste the sauce and season to your liking with salt and pepper.
To test the fish for doneness, insert a fine tined fork or cake tester through the thickest part of the fish. If it slides through with no resistance, the fish is cooked. Alternately, use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature at the thickest part of the fish. It should be about 140 degrees.
Once your Dover sole has finished cooking, you can begin to portion your whole fish. (See the how-to video at wulfsfish.com). The skin will pull away from the meat easily once cooked.
Quickly toss the cooked broccolini in the pan sauce before plating.
Serve on four plates alongside the broccolini and spoon the almond brown butter sauce over the fish. Sprinkle with more parsley and sliced almonds.