Our last couple days in Amsterdam means getting as much in as possible: flower market, flea market, fish market and herring stands,
For a city surrounded by water with the sea at close hand, its a place any fish lover dreams of. We were sent to the wonderful fish house Lucius
where amongst other deliciousness we got a small sole tutorial. A favorite all time fish, Dover Sole, is something I am reluctant to eat these days. Aside from its prohibitive price,
many areas of the world have shady fishing records endangering the health of this stock.
From the UK Guardian Fish site: “North Sea Dover or common sole stock is classified as healthy and harvested sustainably. Stocks in Skaggerak and Kattegat, the Eastern Channel and Celtic Sea are also healthy but the level of fishing pressure is considered too high or unknown. Stocks in the Western Channel and Biscay are below the minimum level recommended by scientists and harvested unsustainably.
Avoid eating fish caught in these areas, as well as south-west Ireland, where the state of the stock is unknown and catches the lowest on record. Dover sole from the Hastings Fleet trammel net fishery in the Eastern Channel is certified as an environmentally responsible fishery. Avoid eating immature sole (less than 28cm) and fish caught during the breeding season (April-June).
Meanwhile, back at dinner—three types of sole was offered to us: baby sole (the small one), Lemon Sole (the medium one) and the mighty Dover Sole (the large one).
Ruling out the baby, unsure of the lemon sole status and assured of the Dovers provenence, Rose and I shared the Dover.
Sad to say, this fish-- in all its superior elegance and good taste will not likely be on my plate again. But boy did we savor it while we could. It has a butter-sweet taste and superb texture halfway between soft and firm-fleshed. And, its easy to see how easy it is to fillet. There is no greater side than a simple sautéed or roasted potato and lightly steamed spinach.....well—the soul was fed by this sole! Next I’ll show you a little mussel trick and something from the original ‘Zealand’ (as in the original New Zealand).