Lemon Sole

(Pseudopleuronectes americanus):  WILD CAUGHT

Know here in New England as “dabs” when sold as whole fish, the Lemon Sole is one of the most familiar of all ground fishes in the Gulf of Maine. It is not in fact a true sole, rather a flounder, and it the thickest and meatiest of the flatfish found in New England outside of the larger Halibut.

Also know as the “Blackback”, its most widely accepted name is “Winter Flounder” – so named for their migration to inshore shoals during the winter months were the coastal waters tend to be warmer than the deeper open ocean.  New England Fisherman refer to them as “Blackbacks” and “Winter Flounder” when they are landed under 3 lbs and “Lemon Soles” when over 3 lbs (Browne Trading makes no distinction!)

Thicker bodied than most flounders found in the Gulf of Maine, Lemon Sole is oval in shape and generally reddish brown in color. They are the most commercially sought flounders caught outside of the Fluke (Summer Flounder). They are particularly popular due to their thicker, meatier fillets that are second only to those of the larger Halibut.

Cooked, their fillets are nonetheless delicate and flaky, but it holds up well to many types of preparations, including the fry pan, the grill, the steamer or the oven.  Dab fillets are commonly served poached or broiled with liquid, although strong sauces can overpower its sweet and delicate flavor.

Lemon Sole are caught in the Gulf of Maine and as south as Nantucket Island, and are landed by our Portland, Maine fleet. They are available most  seasons with some decline in the Winter months. Market size is between 1-2 pounds, but is more commonly sold as fillets.

Catch Region: Gulf of Maine

Seasonality: Year Round

Catch Method: Trawl

Yield (Fillet Percentage):  50%

Flavor Profile: Mild and Sweet

Texture Profile: Tender with fine flakes

Substitute:

  • Dover Sole
  • Small Fluke

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