Whole Poached Dover Sole with Oyster Ragoût


  • 4 X 225-275 g/8-10 oz Dover sole
  • 20 oysters
  • 25 g/1 oz shallots, finely chopped
  • 50 g/2 oz cold unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 450 ml/¾ pint fish stock
  • 150 ml/¼ pint dry white wine
  • 300 ml/½ pint double cream


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Skin the Dover sole, trim off the fins and the ends of the tails with a pair of scissors, and remove the heads and blood clot from behind the heads, then rinse. Remove any roe and discard. Shell the oysters over a bowl to catch the juices and reserve. Cut the oysters into 5 mm/¼ inch dice. Leave in the refrigerator until needed.

Butter an ovenproof pan or dish large enough to take the sole without overlapping. Lay the sole in the pan and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Add the fish stock and the white wine – if there is a little too much stock, reserve it and add after the fish are cooked and the stock is reducing. Cover the fish with buttered paper or foil. Heat the liquid over a moderate heat until it starts to tremble, remove from the heat and transfer to the oven for about 8-10 minutes until cooked. When cooked, remove the fish from the stock to a shallow dish, cover and keep warm.

Pour the stock into a saucepan and set over a high heat to reduce by three quarters.

While the stock is reducing, trim and fillet the fish, and then replace the fillets to re-form the shape of the fish.

When the stock has reduced far enough, add the cream. Continue to boil until the sauce starts to thicken.


  • Sprigs of fresh dill

To Serve

When ready to serve, reheat the fish in the oven for about 1 minute. Strain the oyster juices through muslin into the sauce, then add the oysters. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the remaining butter in small amounts, shaking the pan or stirring with a wooden spoon until it has all melted – be careful not to crush the pieces of oyster. Check the seasoning – it should not need any more salt because of the addition of the oyster juices. Place the fish on each plate and pour over the sauce, making sure you divide the oysters out equally. Garnish each with a sprig of dill.