Neptune's Bounty: Eating 52 species in 52 weeks to explore alternatives to cod, haddock, tuna, salmon and prawns.
Lemon sole (Microstomus kitt), a small delicate flat fish, is quite accessible if you are just starting out cooking seafood. It is popular, so usually on sale in fishmongers, supermarket fish counters or fish vans, almost always comes filleted and skinned for you, and is quick to cook. It is not the cheapest but nor is it the most expensive.
Sustainability-wise the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) gives it a middling rating, and advises against eating during the breeding season of April-August. It's at its best in the often miserable months after Christmas, before Spring kicks in (they are small at Christmas, sadly when demand is high). What better way to brighten up a dark winter day than a nice piece of fish simply cooked and served with some seasonal veg? It can be paired with things like purple sprouting broccoli, the first of the wild garlic, or like below, the humble leek.
A member of the same fish family as halibut and plaice, this demersal fish dosent taste at all lemony, but like most fish it works well with that citrus flavour. It's smallish, and has a delicate flesh and taste; it's often on the fishmonger's slab beside Dover sole, a bigger, darker, more (dare I say it) masculine proposition. As per most white fish it's easy to cook in a parcel of foil or baking parchment in the oven - pair it with herby potatoes and fresh green veg.
- 2 lemon sole fillets
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 1 handful of rosemary, chopped
- 250ml vegetable stock
- 1 leek, washed and sliced
- 1 lemon
- dulse seaweed flakes (optional)
- olive oil
- large handful of spinach
- salt and pepper
- chopping board
- cook's knife
- potato peeler
- frying pan x 2
- baking tray
- baking parchment or foil
- wooden spoon, spatula or tongs
- fish slice
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan. Add the diced potatoes, chopped rosemary and stock plus some seasoning. Coat well and allow to cook on a lowish heat till the stock is absorbed and the potatoes are cooked.
- Put each fillet of fish on a piece of baking parchment. Top each with a knob of butter, a slice of lemon, seasoning and a pinch of dulse if you have it. Wrap up the parcel and place in the oven for ten minutes.
- Heat a splash of olive oil in the other pan. Add the sliced leeks and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the spinach and a splash of lemon juice, then turn off the heat.
- Remove the lemon sole from the oven; it should be flaky and opaque. Serve the fish on a bed of the potatoes and greens, with some of the cooking juices from the parcel poured over.