A Fine Seasonal Flat Fish….
Plaice has long been a favourite of mine, I like the fact that it’s not as trendy to eat as other flat fish, it always plays second fiddle to Dover and Lemon Soles, Turbot and Halibut and whilst not in their league remains a perfectly good fish to eat.
I used to learn all of the classical fish dishes using plaice fillets; paupiettes, goujons, sauces, garnishes, the whole lot. My college had little funding for catering so plaice was the cheapest option for the students to massacre with a brand new filleting knife-been there, done that!
I hardly ever fillet plaice now, they’re much nicer cooked on the bone and often the size of the fillets makes it a pointless excercise in filleting. I cook fish far more simply now than I have ever done, whole fish such as plaice should be left alone when they are at their peak, I don’t see the point in messing around with them.
Here’s a simple way of cooking plaice or any other whole flat fish for that matter; wash your fish and pat dry with some kitchen towel. Crank your oven or grill up then get a tray big enough to accomodate your fish on. Give the fish and the tray a good dose of olive oil and butter followed by a good turn of the pepper mill and a sprinkle of rock salt. You can throw a couple of sprigs of fresh oregano on if you want but not dried, I forbid it! Take some cherry vine tomatoes, half a dozen or so per person and put those on the tray. Bake the lot for about twelve to fifteen minutes or as much as twenty depending on the size of the fish until the skin blisters and the flesh looks as though it will come away from the bone without much bother.
I like to finish the dish with some capers and anchovies, I serve the lot with some pink fur potatoes in parsley butter and a simple green salad with a german style creamed herb dressing. The residue cooking butter is combined with those from the potatoes and poured over the fish.