Santa Barbara Sole

The whole family visiting for a week is a great opportunity to pamper my grandparents. My grandmother and I got to talking about what they normally eat and what they would love to have and one of the things that came up is how much she misses lemon sole, which is apparently hard to come by in Southwest Florida. When I was in the fish market later that day, it just so happened they had a bunch of beautiful lemon sole fillets received by mistake that morning in place of their usual gray sole. Chardonnay, one of our favorite restaurants in Naples, makes an excellent Sole Meunier, so I decided to risk making something with a little spice and prepared Santa Barbara Sole. My grandparents loved it and wanted the recipe. My mom and brother were thrilled to have the leftovers when they flew in from Colorado later that night. My sister was so sad she missed it she has asked me to make it at least three times since she got here and finally said she’ll settle for the recipe. It’s a hard dish to mess up, most of the work can be done in advance, and everyone loves it.Serves 4-5 people.Ingredients:

     8 sole fillets
16 toothpicks
2 16 oz jars of good Mexican salsa in your desired spiciness. (I used Green Mountain Gringo Mild Organic Salsa this time to keep things tame for my grandparents, but medium spicy fresh salsa is also delicious.)
1 lemon
¾ lb Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 cup white rice

Optional:
Ancho peppers in adobo
2 T white flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle.Split sole fillets in half lengthwise (along spine) and remove any bones.Place fillet halves in a baking dish that is at least 2 inches deep, about 6 inches in diameter. Squeeze lemon juice over the fish.Lightly spread non-skin side with ancho paste, if desired. (Ancho will make the dish a little spicier and give it a slightly smoky flavor.) Spread with salsa and roll up, starting at the tail/skinnier end, and secure roll with a toothpick. Turn roll upright so that the spiral is visible from the top. Repeat with remaining half-fillets.Pour enough of the remaining salsa over the fish to cover. Bake for about 20 minutes, uncovered, until the fish is white and flaky.Using slotted spoon, put fish rolls on a plate and cover with tinfoil.Pour liquid from baking dish into a saucepan. Add remaining salsa and reduce slightly if very liquidy. Add a little flower to help thicken if desired.Stir in grated cheese. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.Return fish to baking dish and pour the sauce over the fish.Serve fish rolls (removing toothpicks) and sauce over white rice.