The common sole or Dover sole, Solea solea, is a species of fish in the Soleidae family. It has a preference for relatively shallow water with sand or mud covering the bottom. It is found in the Eastern Atlantic ocean, from the south of Norway to Senegal, and in almost all of the Mediterranean Sea. In the winter it withdraws to the somewhat warmer waters of the Southern North Sea.
The small eyes are close to each other on the right-hand side of the body. This gives the fish the possibility of lurking half-buried in the sand for passing prey. The common sole, just like all other flatfish, is born as an "ordinary" fish with one eye on each side of the body. The young metamorphose to flatfish when they are about one cm long. The common sole approaches a maximum length of approximately 70 cm.
Chefs prize Dover sole for its mild, buttery sweet flavour and versatility and for its ease of filleting. The fish yields fillets that hold together well in a variety of recipes.
The name "Dover" comes from Dover, the English fishing port landing the most sole in the 19th century.
The American sole
The American soles are a family (Achiridae) of flatfish occurring in both freshwater and marine environments of the Americas. The family includes about 28 species in nine genera. These are closely related to the soles (Soleidae), and have been classified as a subfamily of it, but achirids have a number of distinct characteristics.
Eyes are on the right side, and the eyed-side lower lip has a distinctive fleshy rim. The dorsal and anal fins are usually separate from the caudal fin. The pectoral fins are small or nonexistent.
Seasonal Information: Dover sole
This information is specifically for countries in the northern temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere; particularly the United Kingdom, however it should be applicable for northern USA, northern Europe, Canada, Russia, etc.
Dover sole is at its best and in season during the following months: May, June, July, August & September.