How do you know when Dover Sole is fresh?

According to this other question, about all fish, you have a few ways to know:

  • the gills should be bright red
  • the skin/scales should be bright and shiny like metal
  • this fish shouldn't really smell of anything except 'watery'
  • the flesh should rebound quickly when pressed
  • the eyes should be bright and clear
  • really fresh fish is also quite slimey to touch if it's straight out of the water. I remember being quite surprised at this from my first fishing trip a few years back.

And all of these ways don't work, because the fish bores under sand and lives there. Is there any way to tell with Dover Sole?

  • 1
    smell always works, although "briny" is the term I'd use
    – kdgregory
    Jul 17, 2010 at 23:27
  • Was that fresh water fish? For some reason I thought salt water fish typically were not slimey.
    – tonylo
    Jul 18, 2010 at 0:49

2 Answers 2


Umm.. I'm not sure what you're saying. I've seen and filleted whole Dover sole, and everything on the standard 'fresh fish' list applies.

Agreed, though, that smell is often a good indicator.

  • Since the fish bores, its gills aren't red, its eyes aren't clear and its skin isn't shiny. When it's a bit old the fishmonger can always wash it and put it on ice and it won't smell. You also can't tell if the fresh was frozen or not. Jul 18, 2010 at 23:48
  • Fish that has been frozen usually has a squishier texture than not. The skin is actually shiny--not in the same sense that scales are, but in the sense that it is not dull. There should be a sheen.
    – daniel
    Jul 19, 2010 at 4:08

For Dover Sole and most flat fish in general they should ideally be past the rigor mortis stage (eg not rigid or stiff ). I've known some chefs keep Dover Sole up to a week in the fridge before cooking.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.