The lemon sole is in fact not a sole at all, but a member of the Pleuronectidae family, the same family as halibut and plaice. Its name is something of a mystery, as it’s not particularly lemon in colouring or indeed in flavour. Its other local names are equally mysterious, including ‘Mary sole’, ‘smear dab’ and ‘sweet fluke’.
Although far less assertive in flavour than Dover sole, lemon sole has a distinct shellfish taste, particularly reminiscent of scallop and prawns, together with underlying oaty biscuit notes and a suggestion of sherry-like sweetness.The flesh is not overly juicy and the small flakes mean that the texture is quite close, but once in the mouth the fish takes on a melting, velvety softness with a faintly breadcrumb-like quality. Lightly dusted in flour, fried in butter and served with nothing more than a squeeze of lemon and some parsley, it makes a simply delicious meal.
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