In ancient times, the Romans liked sole and sometimes "candied" it, i.e. marinated it in salt, but also cooked it in other ways too. Apicius left us this recipe:

"Beat the sole, wash them, and put them in a dish. Drizzle with oil, garum, and wine. While that cooks, grind pepper, lovage, and oregano together in a mortar. Pour in the cooking juices and raw eggs and mix everything together. Pour it on the sole and cook over a low heat. Once it has thickened, season with pepper and serve.”

During the reign of Louis XIV, sole became a "royal dish", and so the ways of cooking it multiplied. Even Madame de Pompadour joined in and we still have "Sole Fillets à la Pompadour".

Normandy Sole was supposedly created in 1837 in the kitchens of the famous Rocher de Cancale, on the Rue Montorgueil in Paris. But Carême was already using it in much the same way.

A fresh sole will have bright skin on both sides, a good sea smell, red gills, and unsunken eyes.

If the white skin has started to darken, this means that the sole is not fresh.

Soles are graded according to their weight:

Size 5–2: 120–140 g

Size 5–1: 140–200 g

Size 4: 200–250 g

Size 3: 250–330 g

Size 2: 330–500 g

Size 1: 500 g+

Sole is sold fresh, cleaned or not, and in fillets.

Frozen, they are available whole and cleaned, or in fillets.

Before being cooked, sole should be trimmed and gutted, skin removed, and fins cut.

Sole meunière , a pan-fried whole sole, is the most classic sole dish. The temperature must be well controlled (51°C at the center), or the fillets will be difficult to remove.

Sole can also be cooked in other ways: whole and braised or baked in the oven, or cooked in a court-bouillon for large fish. The fillets, left flat or rolled, can be poached and accompanied by a sauce, but they can also be fried and/or breaded.

Wedge soles are usually fried.

A sole's yield is 40–45%. Its bones should not be discarded, but retained for stock. It skin, which is scaly, is an excellent binder. 

La cuisson meunière, à la poêle, d'une sole entière est la plus classique. La température doit être bien contrôlée (51 °C à coeur) sinon les filets se détacheront difficilement.

Before being cooked, sole should be trimmed and gutted, skin removed, and fins cut.

Sole meunière , a pan-fried whole sole, is the most classic sole dish. The temperature must be well controlled (51°C at the center), or the fillets will be difficult to remove.

Sole can also be cooked in other ways: whole and braised or baked in the oven, or cooked in a court-bouillon for large fish. The fillets, left flat or rolled, can be poached and accompanied by a sauce, but they can also be fried and/or breaded.

Wedge soles are usually fried.

A sole's yield is 40–45%. Its bones should not be discarded, but retained for stock. It skin, which is scaly, is an excellent binder. 

As sole is a delicate fish, it should be cooked as soon as possible. It will keep for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator or cold room at 4°C on crushed ice and covered with parchment paper.

Sole is a particularly lean fish. It is rich in protein and contains plenty of minerals.

There are several species of sole:

  • Common sole: the most common, the most sought after, and the most caught. It has a small black spot on the end.
  • Sand sole (Channel, Atlantic): the skin has dark patches. Its flesh is coarser.
  • Senegalese sole or rock sole (Atlantic): it is often larger, its flesh is firmer, and it is more suitable for filleting.
  • Wedge sole: very small sole (10–20 cm) that lives in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

The common sole is mainly fished from July through February.

The minimum landing size is 20 cm.