Fish Royalty – Dover Sole and Turbot

It was 1843 when Hans Christian Andersen told the story of a homely little bird born in a barnyard, bullied by those around him for the way he looked. The ugly duckling, as the famous children’s fable is known, soon had the last laugh though, blossoming into the most beautiful swan of all.

When it comes to seafood, substitute the ugly duckling for turbot and Dover sole. Brown, spotty skinned, with two eyes nestled close together on one side of the head, these two will never trouble the judges in an underwater beauty pageant. But when it comes to taste, substitute the most beautiful swan of all for these two cousins of the flat fish variety – without doubt the royalty of restaurant fish dishes.

What is it that gives turbot and Dover sole their regal status amongst foodies and chefs the world over?

Both found in European waters, weighing anywhere from 400g to 10kg (turbot) and 300g to 1.3kg (Dover sole), it’s their elegant, lightly sweet flavour and the resilience of it’s tender white flesh when cooked that makes these fish so popular.

And you needn’t feel you need to be a cook of Michelin standard to enjoy the unique flavours of turbot or Dover sole. These are both enjoyed best when allowed to stand out as the stars of the show. You’ll have heard of sole meunière, a simple method of coating the fish in flour and combining lemon, butter and parsley to enhance the delicate taste of the fish.

These words are echoed by French restaurant critic, Robert Courtine who, when commenting on how best to enjoy sole, “the sole, that fish so elegant and rich in itself, has no need for so much flattery. . . . If you want to serve a sole, just cook it as simply as you can.”

Unfortunately, sustainability has become a problem for turbot. Whilst some would say wild turbot tastes better, farmed turbot is still delicious and you know you are doing your bit for the environment, meaning future generations can enjoy the same wonderful taste of turbot for years to come.

AO Seafood offers both Dover sole and turbot at wonderfully competitive prices, available fresh and frozen all year round, so if you’re hesitant at including these regal flat fish on your menu, hesitate no more!

All hail, the kings of the seabed, the turbot and the Dover sole!