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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sole Food

The first and only time I saw someone pocket a sole was at Billingsgate market in London a very long time ago. Not literally though it would not have surprised me in such a place in those days! I rushed home afterwards, not wanting to forget, clutching a couple of soles and set about to successfully pocket both and I think I stuffed them with grapes as in Sole Veronique but my memory is a bit hazy about that part of the story.

At the Sydney fish markets yesterday I went on the search for flat fish having suddenly remembered the technique and thinking it would be worth including on the Food Vine. We don’t often see flat fish locally so I took full advantage of where we were.

Any flat fish is suitable but make sure to choose your fish from sustainable sources.
Flounder is best, Sole, as long as it is MSC certified but Plaice is a no go.

1. Remove the head.
2. Trim the side fins with a pair of scissors, then trim the tail.
3. Imagine the fish in four sections, two each side. Take a sharp knife, place your hand on top of the fish to steady it, make an incision with the point of the knife in the top of the first section then slice against the bone all the way down into the fish making a pocket as you go between the flesh above the bone and the bone itself. Repeat second section.
4. Turn the fish over and repeat as above.
5. Take your scissors and cut down through the bone inside the fish as close as you can to the inside walls. Repeat other side.
6. Cut and remove as much bone as you can.
7. Turn the fish inside out, carefully and without tearing and cut out the remaining bone.
8. Snip the small bones from the sides close to the edge
9. Turn the fish back the other way.
10.Wash the fish out.

Fill the pocket with a filling of your choice and poach gently in white wine, fish stock, salt, pepper and a little onion for about fifteen minutes. Make a veloute sauce from the poaching liquid.

I have not included a recipe for this dish – it is simply the technique.

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