Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

sole Solea solea, a flatfish of superb quality which ranges from the Mediterranean to the north of Scotland and the south of Norway. The best fishing grounds for it are the North Sea and the Bay of Biscay. In Britain it is often distinguished from its less good relations (on which see below) by being called Dover sole. This is not because it congregates round Dover, but simply the result of Dover having in the past been the best source of supply to the London market of freshly caught specimens.

The name sole may also be correctly applied, but usually with a qualifying epithet (e.g. French sole), to other species of the family Soleidae. These all belong to the group of dextral flatfish (i.e. flatfish with both eyes on the right-hand side of their heads—see flatfish). The other true soles are dealt with at the end of this entry, where information will also be found about the occasional misuse of the name sole for fish which are not true soles.