Baked flatfish with herb butter and foragers salad

Darina and Rachel Allen complement their fresh fish dish with wild leaves straight from the great outdoors
By Darina Allen
Baked flatfish with herb butter and foragers salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the salad

  • selection of foraged leaves, for example: watercress, goose foot, chickweed, sea spinach, wild garlic, fat hen, bitter cress, salad burnet, dandelion, pennywort, young primrose leaves or sorrel, (See Cooks Tips)

For the dressing

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic or Cabernet Sauvignon red wine vinegar
  • cloves garlic, crushed

For the fish

  • 4 fresh plaice, sole or other flat fish on the bone, heads removed if preferred
  • 110 g butter
  • 4 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp fresh leaves fennel, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped (See Cooks Tips)

Tips and Suggestions

Wild garlic and dandelion can be quite bitter or astringent, so go light on them for your salad.

To check whether the fish is cooked, lift flesh from the bone close to the head, where it is thickest. The skin should lift off the bone easily and be white with no trace of pink.

You can substitute the herbed butter with something else if you prefer: try hollandaise, lobster or shrimp butter sauce.


1. For the salad and dressing: wash and dry leaves; transfer to a large bowl. Next, make the dressing. Combine oil, chosen vinegar and crushed garlic, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the greens with enough dressing to make the leaves glisten. Set salad aside.

2. For the fish: preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Wash fish thoroughly. Using a sharp knife, neatly cut skin around edge of fish where the fringe meets the flesh. Make sure you cross the side cuts at the tail.

3. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper and lay in 1cm of water in a shallow baking tin. Cook for 2030 minutes, adjusting time according to size of fish. The water will have almost evaporated when the fish is cooked. (See Cooks Tips) Set aside.

4. Just before serving, melt butter in heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir in herbs. Fetch the fish and gently pull its skin off from the tail end. Lift fish onto hot plates and spoon over herb butter, reserving a little. Serve immediately with extra butter on the side.

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