Parmesan Dover Sole

pan of baked Dover sole

Over a month ago I was celebrating a belated Christmas get-together with Carol, a friend of 31 years.  Our time in each other’s company is always rich; my desire for our merrymaking was that my food would do the honors, blessing our long-term bond.  This delicious dish answered this ambition beyond my expectations.  I share it here for your use with those close to you.

Friendship and food are both treasured gifts.  When we mix the two together, life explodes.  I always endeavor to meet my guests’ particular needs, thus making each dinner engagement unique and exceptional.

For instance Carol doesn’t like hors d’ouvres, as they were never served in her family of origin; for her they take away from an acute appetite for the main meal.  Consequently, we just partake in tea and conversation for the first half hour of our gathering.

This sensible person has a heightened awareness of taste.  She knows good food and eats with purpose, maximally enjoying each bite.  This takes concentration and my friend allows herself this luxury; we spend much of our repast in silence, focusing on gastronomic pleasures.

This discipline was first displayed to me when I was 20 years old, while waiting on table in my father’s restaurant.  (Joy unspeakable happened to me then, as I served the public with our exceptional ailments.)  My About Page on this website notes that which is true for each of us: it details the unfolding of my destiny with food history throughout my entire life.  An excellent example of this is what I learned about the gift of hospitality, while serving the public in my youth; during that instructive time, a young couple showed me what a treasure stillness brings to eating.

Tourists peopled my family’s eatery in Glacier National Park and this unique pair was probably there on their honeymoon.  I initially approached their table with rousing emotion, my usual display of a genuine heartfelt welcome, however my spirit was quickly corrected.  This excitable enthusiasm (which was normally highly pleasing to those on holiday) was not appropriate in their presence, for there was a holy reverence about them.  My sensitive response was an immediate change of demeanor.  Throughout their lengthy feast I watched them with awe, as they indulged in each other’s company and our kitchen’s delights in their unparalleled way.

I intuitively knew how to respect them with a quiet spirit.  However, this was so foreign to me that I felt like I was walking on egg shells, but oh the glory of it all!

Since then, God has given me a friend with whom I can practice what these two taught me, forty odd years ago.  Carol and I uphold veracity in all of life’s dealings; thus, even our eating is veracious.  Because of the honesty in our souls, we engage in veneration to God as we consume food; therefore, you can see my need for a dish that would rise to our integrity, which I knew would be present at this gathering.

My heart’s desire was met in this Parmesan Dover Sole recipe; how facile and pleasing it is beyond words.

sauce cooking

Parmesan Dover Sole   Total prep time: less than 1 1/2 hr; active prep time: 50 min;  baking time: 30 min.  Yields: 3-4 servings.

Note: you may double this recipe, leftovers are great, however fish only keeps for 3 days.

1 1/2 tbsp oil  (Coconut oil is best here for flavor and quality; you may also use avocado oil; olive oil is carcinogenic, when heated to high temperatures.)

1 medium/large yellow onion, halved at the root and thinly sliced

5 medium cloves garlic, minced, or to taste  (May substitute 2 cubes frozen garlic from Trader Joe’s for easy prep.)

1 lb Roma tomatoes, chopped small  (Organic is best and the Roma variety is not that much more expensive.)

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt  (Real Salt is so important for your body’s optimum health; this product is available in the health section at most leading grocery stores.)

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

3/4 cup boiling water

1/2 tsp Better Than Bouillon  (Either the chicken or vegetable flavored base will do; this product is available at most grocery stores.)

Spray oil  (Pam coconut spray oil is ideal.)

1 lb Dover sole fillets, or other type of whitefish, such as flounder  (Dover sole is a type of sole that has very thin fillets, which is ideal for absorbing sauces; see Thai Coconut/Lime Flounder, 2016/12/05.)

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved

Rice, steamed according to directions on package

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  (If you prepare dish ahead of time, do steps 2 through 9 before hand; then, preheat oven 1 hour before serving; start rice when you put fish in hot oven, if preparing ahead.)
  2. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Place small piece of sliced onion in oil; when it sizzles, add rest of onion and caramelize (cook until dark brown, stirring occasionally).  Set onions aside in a bowl and save this pan for preparing sauce.
  3. If using fresh garlic, chop and set aside.  Clean tomatoes with an inexpensive, effective vegetable spray: fill a spray bottle with a mixture of 97% distilled white vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide; spray vegetables and let sit for 3 minutes; rinse really well.  Go to next step.
  4. Meantime dissolve Better Than Bouillon in the hot water, set aside.
  5. Chop cleaned tomatoes in small pieces and place in the above sauté pan.  Add garlic, bouillon mixture, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Stir well; bring to a boil over medium heat; then, turn heat down to medium/low; simmer gently for about 20 minutes, or until a sauce is formed, with the tomatoes somewhat chunky (see photo).  Adjust seasoning when sauce is complete. (I encourage you to read tips about cooking properly with garlic in Tomato/Feta Chicken, 2016/07/25.)
  6. Begin steaming the  rice while tomatoes are cooking.  (If you are preparing this ahead of time, start this starch when you put cold fish dish in oven, 50 minutes before serving.)
  7. For a single recipe, spray with oil a 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 3 inch pan, or 2 ½ quart baking dish.  (For a double recipe, use a 9 ½ x 13 x 2 inch pan.)  Place fish fillets in bottom of pan.  Note: it is not necessary to wash pieces of fish or meat; only poultry carcasses, where blood is captured inside, need washing.
  8. Pour prepared sauce over raw fish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (see top photo).  You may choose to refrigerate fish and bake it 50 minutes before serving.  If doing this, preheat oven 1 hour ahead of time and start rice when you put fish in hot oven.
  9. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 to 50 minutes-time varies if fish is cold from the refrigerator.  Fish is done when its center is opaque and it flakes with a fork.
  10. Enjoy this incredibly good dish!  Leftovers are also delicious.