Like the picturesque lighthouses that dot its rocky shores, the Pacific Northwest is a beacon to those seeking adventure. The most famous of these adventurers, Lewis and Clark, traveled along the mighty Columbia River to where it meets the Pacific Ocean to what is now Astoria, Oregon. Explorers, Loggers and Fishermen built Astoria, and are still vital to its existence.
Astoria is the type of fishing village one would describe as “quaint”. With a population of only 10,000, this coastal city boasts Victorian houses, forts, monuments… and shipwrecks. For mariners, this is not a city for the faint of heart. The Columbia River bar (where the river meets the sea) is as wild and raucous as the town is quiet. It is considered one of the most dangerous navigable stretches of water in the world, and is home to the famous Columbia River Bar Pilots, who jump from ship to ship in one the most dangerous jobs you can imagine.
It is this port where fishermen land one of our most popular fishes, West Coast Dover Sole (Microstomus pacificus). The sole, unconcerned with the tumult above, swim more than a hundred fathoms below the surface. West Coast Dover Sole are flatfish, with both eyes on the right sides of their heads and a marvelous camouflage that makes them almost invisible when viewed from above or below. Their diet of small crustaceans contribute to their firm flesh and delicate flavor.
West Coast Dover Sole shines in a variety of preparations, from the fancy-sounding but incredibly easy West Coast Dover Sole En Papillote to rustic fish tacos, but you can never go wrong with capers, lemon and butter. And, as they do in Astoria, pair it with a local microbrew or an Oregon pino Gris.