Stuffed whole Grey Sole for (at least) two

I learned to make this dish while following a course at the New York Institute of Culinary Education. It is a very elegant and impressive dish to serve to your friends. As bonus, you will also learn how to fillet a fish in a completely new way!
The trick is to fillet the fish so that you remove the main bones from the fish, but still keep the fish intact. This means that you will have to get a relatively large fish, and you will have to clean it yourself as the fish monger is not likely to do this for you. However, to me it is almost a meditative and fun chore to do so don’t let it stop you from trying this impressive dish!

Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1 whole grey sole, about a kilo, scaled but not gutted
  • 250gr of julienne vegetables (a mixture of leek, carrots, celery root, zucchini, turnip etc.)
  • butter
  • 250ml of fish stock
  • 175ml white wine
  • 150ml heavy cream
  • 1 lemon
  • fresh parsley and chives
  • Salad and crispy potatoes as side dish
  • Duration: 60 min oven time, 30 min preparation, 15 min cooking

Preparations:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
  • Place the garlic bulb on top of a piece of aluminium foil, gently drizzle with olive oil and put some salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic in the foil and make sure the steam cannot escape. Place in the oven for 45-60 min

  • In the mean time, clean the fish. First, use scissors to trim the fins on both sides of the fish. Then, make an incision on the top side, following the spine. Continue to carefully cut the fish meat free from the bones, and open the fish from the top side like a book, leaving the head and tail still attached

  • Using scissors, cut the spine just behind the head of the fish, lift it slightly and carefully cut the spine and bones free from the rest of the fish meat. When you reach the tail, cut the final part of the spine through. Remove the guts

  • By now you should have removed the main bones from the fish and are left with a fish with intact fillets, and only the small bones left in the thin strips on the outer sides of the fish

  • Wash the fish inside and outside, dry with kitchen paper and season with salt and pepper
  • For the stuffing; melt some butter in a frying pan, add the julienne vegetables and let it cook on medium fire until the vegetables are tender but not falling apart. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Stuff the sole with the vegetables and close the top fillets over the stuffing. Season the outside with salt and pepper
  • Find a pan that is large enough to hold the fish. Butter the pan and put some additional pieces in the pan. Place the whole fish on top

  • Add the fish stock and white wine to the pan, it should come about 2/3 of the way up the fish. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, then cover with a piece of aluminium foil and leave the fish cooking. Check after 5 minutes if the fish is done
  • When the fish is done, drain the liquid into a smaller pan, you only need about 300ml to make the sauce. Cover the fish with aluminium foil to keep it warm
  • Reduce sauce until about half, poor in the heavy cream and add about half of the roasted garlic that you squeezed out of the toes. Continue to reduce the sauce until it has thickened slightly. Season with lemon juice and some salt and pepper
  • Spoon the sauce over and next to the fish, finish with chopped up parsley and chives
  • Serve the fish in all its beauty to your guests and enjoy!

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