Artist’s Palate: William Kentridge’s sole Véronique

William Kentridge’s sole Véronique
Napkin, £15, from The Conran Shop. ‘Ripple’ glass, £49 for four, by Ferm Living, from Amara. ‘Platinum’ plate, £24, by Jasper Conran, for Wedgwood, from The Conran Shop. ‘Pure’ fork; knife, €14 each, by Pascale Naessens, for Serax. Interiors: Matthew Morris. Entertaining director: Melina Keays
(Image credit: Philippe Fragnière)

Whether in charcoal-on-newsprint drawings or monumental sculptures, William Kentridge is a master of narrative, shining light on turbulent histories through hauntingly expressive forms. To mark a pair of retrospective shows in his native South Africa, we invited him to share his favourite dish, which comes with an appropriate dash of drama. Of the sole Véronique, an invention of the great Auguste Escoffier, Kentridge says, ‘In my childhood, when this was being prepared, it was always a sign of a grand dinner party. More recently, I have tried to make it, but it has never matched my memory of how it looked then.’

Serves 2

2 Dover or lemon sole, skinned and filleted
Salt and black pepper
10g butter
150 ml fish stock
150 ml vermouth or dry white wine
150ml whipping cream
100g seedless green grapes, each sliced in half

Heat the oven to 180c. Season the fillets with a sprinkling of salt and a grinding of black pepper and roll them up as tightly as possible. Lightly butter a shallow ovenproof dish and place the fillets in it. Dot with pieces of butter. Pour the fish stock and vermouth around the fish, cover the dish with a piece of foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until just cooked.

Carefully strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan and cover the fish with the foil. Replace in the oven to keep warm. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil over a high heat and boil until reduced to about 100ml. Pour the cream into the pan and return to a simmer. Stir in the grapes and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Remove the fish from the oven and arrange on serving plates. Pour over the sauce and serve.

A version of this article originally featured in the October 2019 issue of Wallpaper* (W*247)


‘Why Should I Hesitate?’ is showing from 24 August – 23 March at Zeitz MOCAA and Norval Foundation, Cape Town. 

TF Chan is a former editor of Wallpaper* (2020-23), where he was responsible for the monthly print magazine, planning, commissioning, editing and writing long-lead content across all pillars. He also played a leading role in multi-channel editorial franchises, such as Wallpaper’s annual Design Awards, Guest Editor takeovers and Next Generation series. He aims to create world-class, visually-driven content while championing diversity, international representation and social impact. TF joined Wallpaper* as an intern in January 2013, and served as its commissioning editor from 2017-20, winning a 30 under 30 New Talent Award from the Professional Publishers’ Association. Born and raised in Hong Kong, he holds an undergraduate degree in history from Princeton University.