Dab Recipes

Dabs Meuniere


•6 to 8 fresh dabs, cleaned with heads and tails removed •1 teaspoon salt •1/8 teaspoon black pepper •6 to 8 tablespoons butter or margarine •1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced •flour •lemon wedges, for garnish (optional)

1.Sprinkle dabs lightly with salt and pepper then dredge lightly in flour.
2.In a large skillet heat 4 tablespoons of butter until almost sizzling.
3.Add fish a few at a time and cook until lightly browned; turning to brown other side.
4.Remove to warm platter and cook other fish, adding more butter if needed.
5.When all fish are cooked, add 2 tablespoons butter to pan and heat until lightly browned.
6.Pour browned butter over cooked sand dabs and sprinkle with parsley.
7.Garnish with lemon wedges if desired and serve.
Store leftover portions tightly covered in refrigerator.
Discard uneaten portions after 2 days.

Oven-Fried Dab with Summer Salad

Dabs, they are little flounders that most cooks fry simply in oil. 
This recipe uses the old Spencer Method of oven-frying, which uses a bit less fat.
 But it is no less flavorful because I slather homemade mayonnaise on the fish before rolling them in breadcrumbs.
 I serve this with a chunky, summery salad of tomatoes, avocado, sweet corn and sweet onions.
This recipe serves four.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 47 minutes

Ingredients: •8-12 pan-dressed sand dabs •1 to 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs •1 egg yolk •2 t. lemon juice •1 t. water •1/2 t. kosher salt •3/4 cup olive oil •1 pound fresh tomatoes •2 avocados •1 ear sweet corn •1/2 Vidalia or other sweet onion, finely chopped •2 T. chopped parsley •Salt and fresh ground black pepper •2 T. olive oil •Juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes

Preparation: Make the mayonnaise. OK, you don't have to make the mayo -- you can use store-bought, so long as it is of good quality. But mayonnaise is easy to make and homemade tastes so much better that I will give you the instructions here.

In a bowl, add the egg yolk, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, teaspoon of water and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and mix well with a wire whisk.

Slowly add in the 3/4 cup of olive oil while whisking furiously. You must whisk very fast and add the oil very slow: Once you have any given amount of oil incorporated, you can rest a bit, then continue adding the remainder.

Your mayo will be yellow and softer than the white store-bought version. It will also be more perishable, so put it in the fridge for now.

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees.

Make the salad. Cut the tomatoes into large chunks, then do the same with the avocado, and put them into a bowl. Cover with the lemon juice.

Add the finely chopped sweet onion and the parsley, then add the sweet corn. Use a stout knife to cut the kernels from the cob of corn; sometimes it helps to cut the cob in half first.

Mix everything together gently -- don't mash the avocado -- and add olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature.

Take out the fish and the mayo and fill a shallow, wide bowl with the breadcrumbs.

Brush (or otherwise apply -- sometimes I just use my clean hands) mayo thickly onto the sand dabs, then, holding them by the tail, plunk one at a time into the bowl of breadcrumbs.

Pick the fish up by the tail again and flip the other side onto the breadcrumbs. Make sure they are good and covered.

Gently lay the fish with the dark skin facing up on a heatproof pan, cookie sheet, oiled foil or whatever you intend to cook them in. I use a baker's Silpat silicone sheet over a cookie tray.

Cook in the oven for 6-12 minutes -- you are looking for golden brown. Do not flip.

To serve, take the fish out, let them rest a minute or two, then arrange one or two on a plate with the golden brown side up. The breading will not be crispy, but it will be savory and is intended to complement the lean and moist sand dabs.

A rich white wine like a Roussanne or a buttery Chardonnay is good with this, but so is a lager or pilsner beer.

Tandoori fish

A piquant yogurt mixture roasted with the fish makes this simple recipe a tasty treat...
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 1-2 people
Cuisine: Indian
Course: Main


1tsp ground coriander
pinch hot chilli powder
1tsp garam masala
1tsp turmeric
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2.5cm/1in piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1tbsp tomato purée
150g carton Greek yogurt
2 whole dab (a small, flat, very cheap fish), lemon sole, Dover sole or plaice
juice of 1 lemon
finely sliced red onion and tomato, lemon wedges and raita, to serve

Method 1 Preheat oven to gas mark 6/200°C (190°C in a fan oven). In a food processor, whizz spices together till combined, add garlic and ginger and whizz again, then mix in tomato purée and yogurt. Season.

2 Slash fish across body, then sprinkle over lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. Put to one side and leave for 10 mins, then smother fish with yogurt mixture. Sprinkle with a little hot curry powder, if you wish.

3 Cover a large baking sheet with foil, then sit fish on it and put in oven for about 15 mins, till topping starts to char slightly and fish is cooked through. Serve with red onion, tomatoes, lemon wedges and the mint and tomato raita.

Dabs With Tarragon Cream Sauce

An elegant dish for lunch or supper, the tarragon in this recipe is a welcome 
taste of spring and is subtle enough to enhance the sweet nuttiness of the dabs.

Serves 4

•8 Dab fillets
•400ml (14fl oz) Fish stock
•100ml (3 1/2fl oz) White wine
•300ml (10fl oz) Double cream
•4 tsp Chopped fresh tarragon
•2 tsp Lemon juice
•2 tsp Tarragon vinegar
•1oz Butter
•Salt & pepper
Bring the fish stock, white wine, double cream, fresh tarragon, and tarragon vinegar to the boil and simmer for ten minutes.
When reduced, add the lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Grill, or fry the dabs in butter for one minute on each side and serve immediately with the tarragon sauce.
Serve with new potatoes and wilted spinach

Deep-Fried Fish Fillets

Try this great deep-fried fish fillets in breadcrumbs with basil and lemon mayonnaise. 
The addition of Parmesan and cayenne pepper in the breadcrumb coating
takes this far away from chip shop fodder.

Sunflower oil, for deep-frying 100g fresh white breadcrumbs 30g finely grated Parmesan 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 50g plain flour 2 large eggs, beaten 12 x 75-100g skinned plaice, lemon sole, flounder, megrim, witch sole or dab fillets Lemon wedges, to serve For the Mayonnaise 6 tbsp mayonnaise 2 tsp fresh lemon juice 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest 8 fresh basil leaves, very finely shredded
1. Mix the mayonnaise ingredients together and season to taste. Cover and chill.

2. Half-fill a large, deep saucepan with sunflower oil and heat to 190C. (To test it, add a cube of bread to the oil. At the right temperature, it will brown in 30 seconds.)

3. Mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt on a large plate. Put the flour onto a second plate and season lightly. Pour the beaten eggs into a shallow dish. Season the fillets lightly on both sides. Coat each fillet, 1 at a time, first in the flour, then the beaten eggs and finally the breadcrumbs.

4. Deep-fry 2 pieces at a time for 2 minutes until crisp and golden. Drain on plenty of kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven while you cook the other fillets.

5. Serve with the mayonnaise, lemon and a green salad, and possibly a good smattering of our oven-roasted chips.