My grandson, Leo (he's eight), declares he doesn’t like fish. But, when I challenged him with learning to bone out a whole sole, all by himself, he stepped up and had a go. After careful work and much concentration, he had four perfect fillets. Scooping up the bone-free morsels of sweet fish, he said sole was his favorite fish of all. So, we’ve eaten it three times this week!
The challenge: Leo and a whole sole.
This takes focus--pull away the edges with all the little fin bones and separate them to another plate..
Cut down the center and pull the first fillet off the bone. Yes!
Cool! The center spine pulls free.
Sole is my favorite fish, says Leo.
Sole, also known as Dover sole, solea solea, lenguado in Spanish, is a dextral flat fish (has eyes on the right side) with an elongated oval body rimmed by fins. The skin color varies from dark brown to olive-drab to grey. It has irregular splotching. The underside is whitish.
Wild sole, sometimes of enormous size, are still to be found in Spanish markets (very pricey). But, most of what is commercialized come from fish farms. They are marketed, whole, at between 7 and 8 ounces. One fish is an individual serving. The fish vendor is always happy to skin them for me.
I cook the sole in the Cádiz style—soaked briefly in milk, dredged in flour and pan-fried in olive oil.
Leo is a purist—he likes his sole with only salt and a squeeze of lemon. While I am in complete agreement, I still like to make a sauce of some sort, because it goes so well with the accompanying boiled potatoes. This time it was a sort-of tartare. I whisk together mayonnaise and plain yogurt; blend in chopped scallions, chopped parsley and dill, grated lemon zest and a spoonful of capers.