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26 May 2012

Pan Seared Mediterranean Plaice

We all have a recipe or two that we turn to when we don't feel like spending time planning what to cook, rushing to the shops looking for certain ingredients or measuring and hoping that it will come out good.  I have one fish recipe up my sleeve that has never failed me for the past ten years.  I have tried this with all kinds of fish, fresh or frozen, filleted or whole, but today I would like to share with you the best fish that goes with this recipe.  

I use white fish like branzino or spigola (seabass) and orata (gilt-head bream) but the one that goes perfectly well with it is platessa (plaice), which is very similar to sole.  

There's a lot of flexibility with this recipe like you can use fillets or whole, frozen or fresh.  I have used all of them.  I have also tasted the difference.  My least favorite is using fillets, even if they are fresh, frozen if I really don't have a choice anymore.  I guess with any fish dish, I prefer using the whole fish because the best flavors come from the parts of the fish that are thrown away when they are already filleted, like the head and the bone frame.

Plaice was the first kind of fish that my son's pediatrician told me to prepare when he was an infant.  It is what the pediatricians, fishmongers and even strangers (yes, we are in Italy!) unanimously agree on as the fish for kids because of the easiness to separate the meat from the fish bones.

In fact, when I bought these, the fishmonger commenced on a long speech about the platessa  being the best fish to give to the kids, with the back-up of his assistant and a couple of people waiting for their turns to get their fish.    People are naturally attracted to kids that when you go around with these little magnets, expect attention and little gifts from everyone. 

One morning with my daughter, was like coming home from a birthday party with a loot bag.  A cup of candies from the Sicilian shop, balloon from the paper shop and a slice of pizza from the supermarket's bread section.  

I use bottled grilled pepper only when I have them at home. But if you can add them, please do, because it completes more the flavor. Putting together the rest of the ingredients with the fish, you will not regret that you cooked this delicious, simple and very healthy dish. Quantities of the ingredients can be adjusted. I actually don't do precise measurements, just this time for this recipe.  

Please don't forget that I still have the giveaway of Bronte pistachios, almond paste brick and Sicilian dried oregano, going on until Sunday, the 3rd of June at 12 Midnight, Rome Time (GMT +2). Please click on this LINK to go to the post with the instructions.  Thank you!

Pan Seared Mediterranean Plaice

Serves 2 - 4
  • 4 sole, cleaned
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + extra for drizzling before serving
  • 1/2 cup grilled peppers (I used the bottled ones.), coarsely chopped
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered 
  • 12 green olives, halved 
  • 2 tablespoons capers, soaked in water, drained and water squeezed out
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Parsley, chopped finely
  1. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
  2. Pour the oil in a large saucepan.  When it's warm, put the fish, skin side down.  Cook for about 6 - 8 minutes on medium - high flame. 
  3. Turn the fish to cook the other side.  Put down the flame to medium.  
  4. Distribute the grilled peppers, tomatoes, olives and capers on the fish.  Cook for another 3 minutes.  
  5. Pour the wine on the fish.  Let the alcohol evaporate and the sauce to thicken but don't let it dry up.  Adjust the salt.
  6. Sprinkle the parsley.  Turn off fire.
  7. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving.