Recipe courtesy of Bart van Olphen and Tom Kime's Fish Tales.
The secret of this dish is to preheat the grill or griddle pan so that it is very hot. The warm dressing contains all the balanced elements of taste: the roasted red peppers are sweet, as is the grilled flesh of the fish; the olives are salty; the hint of crushed chile and the seasoning on the fish is hot and peppery and the lemon juice is sour, which cuts through the richness of the fish. Together they form a stunning picture for the eye and a taste sensation for the palate.
-Bart Van Olphen & Tom Kine, co-authors of Fish Tales.
4 to 6
3 red bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for oiling the fish
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small dried chile, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
30 pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 Dover sole, weighing about 12 to 16 oz each, cleaned
Grill the peppers until the skin is blackened and blistered, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook gently for 2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant, then turn down the heat. Add the chile, thyme, and olives and stir together. Remove from the heat, add the extra virgin olive oil, and set aside.
Peel the skin off the cooled peppers and remove the seeds. If any of the skin or seeds sticks to the flesh, just rinse with a little water. Cut the peppers into thin strips and then into ½in dice. Add to the olive mixture, along with the lemon juice and vinegar. Season the dressing well with salt to taste and lots of black pepper (the olives are salty, so be careful not to over-season). Taste the dressing it should be sweet, salty, sour, and hot.
Preheat the grill or griddle pan so that it is extremely hot. Make sure the bars are really clean and, if necessary, re-clean them after cooking each fish. Preheat the oven to 400F and oil a roasting pan.
Pat the fish completely dry with paper towels. Run some oil all over, then season well with salt and black pepper. Always cook fish presentation-side down first in this case, the brown side. Grill for 4 minutes (you will need to do this in batches), then gently transfer the fish to the oiled roasting pan. Do not move or poke the sole, or shake the pan while it is grilling. When you have grilled all the fish on one side, place in the roasting pan presentation side down and cook in the oven for another 5 minutes.
Serve the whole fish with the pepper dressing spooned over the top, and with braised spinach, potatoes, and a salad or mixed greens or arugula.
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