Whole Poached Dover Sole with Bacon and Chervil


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

A Feast of Fish

A Feast of Fish

By Ian McAndrew

Published 1989

  • About

This summery dish is great for lunch with a little tossed green salad. It is nice and simple to prepare and also quite cheap.


  • 4 X 225 g/8 oz Dover sole
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 120 ml/4 fl oz dry white wine
  • 350 ml/12 fl oz fish stock
  • 8 rashers streaky bacon
  • 50 ml/2 fl oz double cream
  • 225 g/8 oz unsalted butter
  • 15 g/½ oz fresh chervil leaves


    Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.

    Skin the Dover sole. Cut off the heads and remove any roe and the blood clot from behind the heads and rinse well. Trim off the fins and the ends of the tails using a pair of kitchen scissors. Take a deep tray and butter the bottom. Lay the fish in and season with a little freshly ground white pepper and a sprinkle of salt. Pour in the white wine and the fish stock. Cover the fish with buttered paper or foil and set the tray over a medium heat until the liquid just starts to tremble, then transfer to the oven and cook for about 5 minutes. The fish will be cooked when the fillets just start to separate at the head end. Meanwhile, remove the rind from the rashers of bacon and lightly grill them.

    When the fish are cooked, remove from the stock and drain, but keep them covered as they will soon dry out. Transfer the stock to a saucepan and reduce over a high heat until syrupy.

    While the sauce is reducing, lay the fish on a flat surface and carefully remove the top fillets using a palette knife. Remove the bone, trim the fillets, and put the fillets back together to re-form the shape of the fish. Lay 2 rashers of the bacon over each of the fish and return them to the oven for a minute to reheat.

    When the sauce has reduced, add the cream, bring back to the boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Gradually add the butter, whisking all the time, until it has all melted, then add the chervil and stir in.