Grilled Dover sole with béarnaise sauce

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Dover sole is a restaurant bestseller, perfect if you want something simple, light and clean, but expect to pay double the price of other fish. Or you could use chicken turbot, dab, flounder, lemon sole, megrim, slip sole or witch.

Dover sole is a restaurant bestseller, perfect if you want something simple, light and clean, but expect to pay double the price of other fish. Or you could use chicken turbot, dab, flounder, lemon sole, megrim, slip sole or witch.

4 Dover soles, each about 500g, black skin removed
Flour, for dusting
Olive oil, for coating

for the béarnaise sauce

3tbsp white wine vinegar
1 small shallot, chopped
A few sprigs of tarragon
1 bay leaf
5 white peppercorns
200g unsalted butter
3 small egg yolks
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1tbsp chopped tarragon
1tbsp chopped chervil or parsley

First make the béarnaise sauce: place the vinegar, shallot, herbs and peppercorns in a saucepan with 3 tablespoons of water and reduce the liquid by boiling for a few minutes until there is no more than a dessertspoonful. Strain through a sieve and leave to cool.

In a small pan, melt the butter and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, leave to cool a little, then pour off the pure butter where it has separated from the whey. Discard the whey. Clarifying the butter like this helps to keep the sauce thick.

Put the egg yolks in a small bowl (or double boiler if you have one) with half the vinegar reduction and whisk over a pan of gently simmering water until the mix begins to thicken and become frothy. Slowly trickle in the butter, whisking continuously - a hand-held electric whisk helps. If the butter is added too quickly the sauce will separate. When you have added two-thirds of the butter, taste the sauce and add a little more, or all, of the remaining vinegar reduction. Then add the rest of the butter. The sauce should not be too vinegary, but the vinegar should just cut the butter's oiliness. Season, stir in the chopped herbs, cover with clingfilm and set aside in a warm - not hot - place.

Preheat a grill or griddle. Lightly dust the skin side of the fish in seasoned flour, pat off excess and dip both sides in olive oil on a large shallow plate. When the grill or griddle is smoking-hot, cook the fish, flesh side towards the heat first, for about 4-5 minutes, then turn and cook the other side for the same time. If using a griddle, you can give them quadrillage markings, by turning them after 2-3 minutes each time to get criss-cross searing. Whether grilling or griddling, you may have to cook in batches.

Serve the fish with the béarnaise sauce. If necessary, the sauce can be reheated over a bowl of hot water and lightly whisked again.

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