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Dock Talk

Halibut, Salmon, and a Whole Lotta' Sole

Canadian Princess Resort - June 14, 2013

Fishing off the west coast of Vancouver Island or ice fishing in Eastern Canada? They are obviously very different from angling adventures but still, they are both FISHING! Richard Owen was visiting the Canadian Princess Resort for this week and told dock staff that he has spent a lot of time ice fishing in the east.

“I go five or six times a year to ice fish in Ontario,” Richard said. “I have friends there who own a cottage there.”

Richard Owen from Aldergrove, BC landed the Catch of the Day for halibut while fishing on an all-day trip aboard the Ucluelet Princess. His halibut weighed 25lbs-08oz.

Along with this catch, guests on the boat also hauled in a couple of salmon as well as two sole. The Pacific Northwest is home to two species of sole: Dover sole and English sole. Sole are related to halibut, but are a much smaller flat fish. Both species are bottom dwellers that feed on small fish, molluscs, and crustaceans. These particular species can be found along the coast from Baja, Mexico all the way up to the Bering Sea.

You have probably seen sole in your grocer’s freezer. Not only are they caught in the sport fishing industry, they are also sold and marketed commercially. Most commercial fishing for sole is done in Washington, Oregon, and California.

With so much fishing coming through the resort, we are always looking for new delicious and healthy ways to cook them up. After doing a little research, I found this yummy recipe in the New York Times Recipes for Health series. It sure looks good to me!

Tight Lines,


Oven-Poached Pacific Sole With Lemon Caper Sauce

A fish piccata of sorts, this dish is easy to make and the sauce is perfect for delicate fish like sole or flounder, as well as more robust fish like swordfish.

1 1/2 pounds Pacific sole or flounder fillets
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 cup dry white wine (you can also use rosé; the sauce will have a pink hue)
For the sauce
1 plump garlic clove, minced or puréed (more to taste)
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil or butter one or two baking dishes large enough to accommodate the fish fillets in one layer. Lay the fish in the dish(es) and season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small or medium skillet and add the shallot. Cook, stirring, until tender and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the wine to the pan, bring to a boil, and pour the wine and shallots over the fish. Return the skillet to the stove (make sure the heat is off) for later use. Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the fish is opaque and pulls apart easily with a fork.

3. While the fish is in the oven, whisk together the garlic, capers, lemon juice and olive oil. You can also mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle and work in the capers, lemon juice and olive oil, though I prefer the capers chopped, even some intact, and not puréed.

4. When the fish is done remove it from the oven and carefully transfer to a platter or plates. Cover and keep warm. Pour the liquid in the baking dish into the skillet and turn the heat on high. Reduce, stirring often, to about 1/4 cup – it should be thick – and stir in the garlic and caper mixture and the parsley. Whisk together, taste and adjust seasoning, pour over the fish and serve.

Yield: Serves 4

Advance preparation: This is all pretty last minute, but you can prep the sauce before you begin cooking the fish.