Baked Plaice or Sole with Herb Butter

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • serves


Appears in

Darina Allen's Simply Delicious Suppers

Darina Allen's Simply Delicious Suppers

By Darina Allen

Published 2001

  • About

This is a master recipe which can be used not only for plaice and sole but for all very fresh flat fish, e.g. brill, turbot, dabs, flounder and lemon sole. Depending on the size of the fish, it may be served as a starter or a main course. It may be served not only with herb butter but with any other complementary sauce, e.g. Hollandaise or Beurre blanc.


  • 4 very fresh plaice or sole on the bone
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 55–110 g butter
  • 4 teaspoons mixed finely chopped fresh parsley, chives
  • fennel and thyme leaves


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

Turn the fish on it’s side and remove the head. Wash the fish and clean the slit very thoroughly. With a sharp knife, cut through the skin right round the fish, just where the ‘fringe’ meets the flesh. Be careful to cut neatly and to join the side cuts at the tail or it will be difficult to remove the skin later on.

Sprinkle the fish with salt and freshly ground pepper and lay them in 7mm of water in a shallow baking tin. Bake in a moderately hot oven for 20–30 minutes according to the size of the fish. The water should have just evaporated as the fish is cooked. Check to see whether the fish is cooked by lifting the flesh from the bone at the head; it should lift off the bone easily and be quite white with no trace of pink.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and stir in the freshly chopped herbs. Just before serving, catch the skin down near the tail and pull it off gently (the skin will tear badly if not properly cut). Lift the fish on to hot plates and spoon the herb butter over them. Serve immediately.