Updated: Jul 25, 2021
This is a recipe where I decided to have a little play by mixing Japanese ingredients with French techniques. Lemon sole is a super underrated fish in my opinion as I find it far tastier than Dover Sole yet much cheaper. Lemon Sole is a very delicate fish and takes quite a bit of attention but the end product is definitely worth the effort. I did purchase the fish whole to show you how to fillet however, you can simply buy any flat fish fillets. Let's cook!
To serve 2
1 whole lemon sole or fillets
5 shitake mushrooms
1 small red shallot
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 spring onion
2 tbsp light soy
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsps white miso
2 tbsp light soy
3 tbsp mirin
10cm piece lemon peel
2 garlic cloves
5cm piece of kombu
1 spring onion
1 tbsp sugar
Start by preparing the fish, if you have a decent fish monger ask him to do this for you then you can completely skip this part. Begin by removing all of the outer fins by cutting with scissors. Now make an incision slicing around the head and slice the fish on the side starting from the tail all the way up to the head. Make sure you rest the knife against the bone when doing this as you do not want to slice into the flesh.
2. Continue running your knife along the centre bone until you remove the fillet. Usually a flat fish has 4 fillets but for this dish I wanted larger fillets so I continued to fillet over the spine of the fish to make one large fillet. When the fillet is removed flip the fish over and repeat this process to get 2 large fillets. Discard the head and the bones or store in the fridge to make a fish stock at a later date.
3. Now we have two fillets the next step is to remove the skin. Flip the fish so that the skin side is against the board, then make a small incision on the tail side with a knife. Gently remove the skin by slicing with a knife pointed at a 45 degree angle facing down. When the skin is removed place the fillets to one side.
4. For the stuffing, finely dice 5 shitake mushrooms, finely chop 1 shallot, 1 garlic clove and 1 spring onion. Add the finely chopped ingredients to a pan with a small drizzle of oil and fry on a medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. Now add a knob of butter and add the panko breadcrumbs, fry until the stuffing is golden brown then season with 1 tbsp soy, 1 tbsp sesame oil and salt and pepper. When ready place into a bowl and allow to cool.
5. When the filling has cooled down we can add the stuffing to the fish. Lay the fish so that the skin side is faced down. Add a small amount of the stuffing over the fish and pat down with a spoon.
6. Now roll the fish starting from the tail to create a roll. When rolled wrap the fish in clingfilm to form a clean shape then store in the fridge for around 30 minutes to firm up.
7. Whist we wait for the fish to firm up we can make a start on the broth. In a pan add 500ml of water, 2 tbsp soy, 3 tbsp mirin and bring up to a boil. When boiling turn the heat down to medium then add 2 tbsp miso, 1 chopped spring onion, kombu, lemon zest, sliced ginger, garlic and 1 tbsp of sugar. Allow the broth to reduce to make a slightly thicker consistency. When the broth is reduced adjust the seasoning if needed by adding lemon juice, sugar or more soy. drain the broth into a pan and set to one side.
8. To cook the fish remove the clingfilm and place onto a small piece of greaseproof paper. Add the fish to a bamboo steamer and steam for 6-7 minutes depending on the size of the fish. When the fish is cooked remove from the steamer and prepare to plate up. If you don't have access to a steamer you could also bake or grill the fish until cooked.
9. Just before serving chop some pakchoi and fry in a pan with a drizzle of oil, a knob of butter and some light soy. Fry the pakchoi on a high heat until cooked (This should only take 2 or so minutes).
10. Now to plate up, add the pakchoi into the centre of the plate then drizzle the miso broth around the outside. I decided to lightly char the fish with a blow torch to add another level to it then place some finely sliced spring onion over the top and enjoy...
This dish is quite light therefore you may perhaps want to eat it with some cooked rice on the side. If you cant get hold of lemon sole then dover sole or plaice would also work fine. You could also use the stuffing as a crumb to go on top of a different type of fish without rolling, such as cod or halibut these would work great. Hope you enjoy this recipe.