With the arrival of shorter and colder days, I have gone back to my kitchen to cook wholesome meals for dinner. I think I spent more time cooking at home this past month than I have done in the whole summer! We don’t cook meat at home, so we usually eat fish and pulses with salads, potatoes and roasted vegetables. Last week I prepared a fantastic Dover Sole “En Papillote” with Tomatoes, Capers and Olives. It’s a filling, yet light, dish. Perfect for a weekday dinner.
According to industry reports, 71-80% of fish consumption in the UK comes from just five fishes: Cod, Haddock, Salmon, Tuna and Prawns. Most people don’t feel confident cooking with a fish they have never cooked before, so they tend to choose the most familiar species.
Obviously this is not sustainable: cod, haddock and tuna stocks have decreased around the world, and there are also fears that salmon and prawns in British waters are being overfished. Eating a more diverse range of fish species would allow stock levels to build up again for the Big Five.
In order to promote customers to be more adventurous in the kitchen and try different species of fish and seafood, Sainsbury’s have launched a new fresh fish range called Fishmonger’s Choice. It includes lesser-known fresh British species such as Whiting, Monkfish and Dover Sole, all wild-caught off the South West coast of Britain. The range varies according to the seasons and when a certain species is more abundant in the sea.
When I’m baking, I like to experiment with a new recipe every time, but when it comes to cooking I’m a creature of habit. So when Sainsbury’s challenged me to cook with Dover sole, at first I was worried about the outcome. I shouldn’t have been though, as sole is not a complicated fish to cook. I absolutely love this recipe and I am surely going to make it a lot over the winter.
Baking soles en En Papillote is simple and quick. It’s a style of baking fish or meat wrapped in a paper parcel, with your favourite vegetables and a dollop of butter. The heat creates steam, which is wrapped inside the parcel and gently cooks the fish.
I paired the Dover sole with fresh flavours of the Mediterranean: olives, tomatoes, capers, lemon, thyme and extra virgin olive oil.
This recipe is versatile: you can choose different types of vegetables to cook with the fish (as long as they cook within 15 minutes). I also like to add cooked couscous into the parcel, underneath the fish, and chopped vegetables like peppers, courgettes and aubergines on top.
• 2 Fishmonger’s Choice Dover Sole on the Bone (about 400g in total)
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 small red onion, sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• ½ tsp chilli flakes
• 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
• 10 large, pitted black olives, halved
• 3 tsp capers, drained
• 20g unsalted butter, divided in two pieces
• 10 fresh thyme sprigs
• 2 thin lemon slices
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Cut two 40cm-long pieces of baking paper. Fold in half, then cut a half-circle or heart-shape. Open flat and place on a baking sheet. Place each sole on a piece of paper.
Place a small pan over medium heat. Sauté sliced onions, garlic and chilli flakes in olive oil until golden, for about one minute. Lower the heat. Add the tomatoes, olives, capers Remove skillet from heat; stir in tomatoes, capers and olives. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat.
Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper, then divide the tomato mixture between the two portions. Cover the fish with the vegetables, then top with butter, thyme sprigs and lemon.
Lift the other half of baking paper and place over fish. Seal the edges, making small folds all the way around until completely sealed.
Place packets on a large baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Serve the sole in the paper parcel with roasted potatoes on the side.
The Sainsbury’s Fishmonger Choice range is available to buy in over 200 stores nationwide.
Disclaimer: this post was written in collaboration with Sainsbury’s. All opinions are my own.