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How to Cook Plaice and Five Delicious Recipes

Gordon has been sea fishing and cooking since childhood. He loves coming up with tasty ways of cooking his fresh catch when he gets home.

Learn how to make pan-fried plaice fillets on a bed of spicy rice.

Learn how to make pan-fried plaice fillets on a bed of spicy rice.

What Is Plaice?

Plaice is a popular eating flatfish, very delicate both in texture and flavour. The fish is easily recognised by the orange spots prominent on the brown skin of its back and its white-skinned underside. It is important to be very gentle with plaice when you are preparing it and cooking it as the flesh can easily be damaged/broken. You should note that it also cooks a lot quicker than many other types of fish and can very easily become overdone. The recipes featured below provide a wide variety of serving suggestions for plaice, most of which can also be applied to other flatfish, such as lemon sole or flounder.

Supermarket plaice fillets

Supermarket plaice fillets

A Guide to Buying Plaice Fillets

When you are buying plaice fillets, aside from normal fish buying considerations such as freshness, there are two other factors of which you should be aware. As plaice is a flat fish, the top and bottom fillets look very different, even though they are from the same fish. The skin on the top fillet will be a dark, brownish colour with orange spots. The skin on the bottom fillet will be white.

When considering portions for serving plaice, you will probably want to allow at least two fillets per person. As you will see when the fillets are skinned, there is considerably less meat on an unskinned fillet than may at first appear.

A top plaice fillet with brown skin and orange spots and a bottom plaice fillet with white skin

A top plaice fillet with brown skin and orange spots and a bottom plaice fillet with white skin

Starting to skin a plaice fillet

Starting to skin a plaice fillet

How to Skin a Plaice Fillet

Skinning a plaice fillet is not really much different in practice from skinning a fillet of cod or whiting. What is different is the amount of skin you will remove in relation to the flesh. If you are not prepared for this, you may think you have made an error. You should note from the fillet before you start to skin it that a large strip of what is simply skin exists on either side of the flesh.

Lay the fillet on a board with the tail end nearest your weaker hand. Pinch the tail with your left or weaker hand and make a nick in the flesh, as close as you can to the end and facing away from your fingers, with a very sharp filleting knife. Pulling firmly on the skin, slide the knife backwards and forwards over the skin to remove the fillet.

Skinned plaice fillet

Skinned plaice fillet

Pan Fried Plaice Fillet With Parsley Butter

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

15 min

20 min

1 small serving

Here is a recipe for plait fillet drizzled with parsley butter and served with assorted vegetables.

Here is a recipe for plait fillet drizzled with parsley butter and served with assorted vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 plaice fillet, skinned
  • Boiling vegetables, as required
  • 1 ounce butter
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. The vegetables in this instance were bought as a combination. They can be bought individually and mixed as desired. They were added to salted, boiling water for around 10 minutes.
  2. The butter should be added to a non-stick frying pan and gently melted before the lightly seasoned plaice fillet is added.
  3. After about a minute, carefully turn the plaice fillet on to its second side for a further minute. A small, thin fillet like this should only take around this length of time to cook though larger fillets will obviously take longer.
  4. Lift the cooked fillet to a plate and add the parsley to the butter. Stir with a wooden spoon and spoon over the plaice.
  5. Drain the vegetables and plate them alongside the fish.
Here is a recipe for plaice and pasta baked in a rich tomato sauce and topped with crisp and crunchy cheesy breadcrumbs.

Here is a recipe for plaice and pasta baked in a rich tomato sauce and topped with crisp and crunchy cheesy breadcrumbs.

Plaice Fish and Pasta Bake

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ready in: 40 minutes

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 8-ounce can chopped tomatoes in juice
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and grated
  • 4-ounce penne pasta
  • 1 large plaice fillet, skinned and chopped to bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly chopped parsley to garnish

Instructions

  1. Pour the tomatoes in to a saucepan and add the dried basil and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a very gentle simmer. Continue to simmer while the pasta is cooked, stirring frequently.
  2. Put your oven on to preheat to 400°F/200°C.
  3. Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling, salted water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Drain well through a colander.
  4. Add the pasta and the plaice to the tomato sauce and carefully stir/fold to combine.
  5. Spoon the mixture in to an ovenproof dish in an even layer and scatter with the combined cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. When the dish comes out of the oven, you can further crisp up the topping by placing it under your grill/broiler on a high setting for a minute or so.
  7. Scatter with the chopped parsley to serve.
Check out this recipe for battered plaice fillets served on a salad bed and with a spicy tomato-based dip.

Check out this recipe for battered plaice fillets served on a salad bed and with a spicy tomato-based dip.

Battered Plaice Fillets with Salad and Spicy Dip

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Ready in: 15 minutes

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon medium chilli powder
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro
  • 2 plaice fillets, skinned and halved lengthways
  • 2 tablespoons self-raising/rising flour
  • Salt
  • Generous handful fresh watercress leaves
  • Generous handful mixed sliced bell peppers
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Where time permits, you should make the batter for the fish about 20 minutes in advance and leave it to rest in the fridge. It is prepared by adding the flour to a flat-bottomed bowl with a little salt and slowly adding cold water while whisking with a fork until you have a moderately thick batter.
  2. The tomato ketchup, garlic, chilli powder and fresh coriander should be combined in a separate bowl.
  3. It is important to have the frying oil very hot to deep fry the plaice fillets. This can be done either in a deep fryer or simply a deep frying pan as in this instance.
  4. Dip each fillet in turn in the batter to evenly coat before lowering carefully in to the hot oil. Fry for about four or five minutes, turning halfway through.
  5. Mix the salad ingredients in a bowl and season. Spoon the tomato sauce in to a serving ramekin and plate it as shown with the salad.
  6. Lift the plaice fillets to a plate covered with kitchen paper and allow them to drain for a minute or so before lifting on to the salad bed to serve.
Here is my recipe for simply fried fillets of plaice served on a bed of spicy pepper rice.

Here is my recipe for simply fried fillets of plaice served on a bed of spicy pepper rice.

Pan Fried Plaice Fillets on Spicy Rice

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ready in: 20 minutes

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Salt
  • 2 large plaice fillets, skinned
  • Oil for frying
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • ½ green chilli pepper, seeded and diced
  • Finely sliced basil leaves to garnish

Instructions

  • Add the turmeric and a generous pinch of salt to a medium pot of boiling water and stir.
  • Wash the rice through a fine sieve before adding to the water. Cook for about 10 minutes until done.
  • Although the plaice fillets here were ostensibly fried, they were finished off under the grill/broiler, to eliminate the need for turning them in the pan and risk breaking them in the process. Your grill/broiler should therefore be preheated to a high setting.
  • Heat a little oil in a frying pan and lay in the plaice fillets that were skin side down. Cook gently for two or three minutes until you can see they are almost done. Finish them off under the grill.
  • Drain the rice and return it to the empty pot. Stir through the peppers before spooning in to a deep serving plate.
  • Lift the plaice fillets on to the rice with a spatula and garnish with the basil.
Here is my recipe for skin-on fried plaice fillet served with homemade chips and a wedge of lime.

Here is my recipe for skin-on fried plaice fillet served with homemade chips and a wedge of lime.

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 minutes*

Cook time: 5 minutes*

Ready in: 10 minutes*

Yields: 1 serving

* Times do not include chip preparation

Ingredients

  • 1 top side (dark skinned) plaice fillet
  • 1 tablespoon plain/all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying
  • Homemade chips to serve
  • Lime or lemon wedge to garnish

Instructions

  1. Pour a little oil in to a frying pan and bring it up to a fairly high heat.
  2. Scatter the flour on a dinner plate and season. Pat the plaice fillet in the flour on its skin side only.
  3. Gently shake the excess flour from the fish before laying it skin side down in the hot pan. Lightly season the flesh side. Fry for about three to four minutes (the skin protects the flesh) until you can see it is almost cooked.
  4. Turn the heat right down under the pan before carefully turning the fish on to the flesh side for a final minute's cooking.
  5. Lift the plaice on to your serving plate skin side up. Add the chips and the lime wedge.
  6. You will see from the relevant photo above how easily the crisped skin should peel off the fillet.

© 2013 Gordon Hamilton