John Dory

A Complete Guide

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I remember John Dory as being a very fashionable thing to eat in the early days of my cooking career, one that would command quite a high price but then seemed to fall from grace. I love John Dory, it is a beautiful fish to eat and worth the extra effort to handle it successfully.

John Dory

Also known as St Peterís fish (or St Pierre) it isnít the most attractive fish in the ocean. Its unfeasibly large head and sharp dorsal fin make up most of the fish and bearing in mind that most weigh little more than 1lb/500g plus you need to be careful not to waste any in the filleting process. Easily identifiable by the round, black spot on its side which legend says is the thumbprint of St Peter; they are most readily available from September through autumn in the wild, whilst successful farming in the Mediterranean has led to a bit of a revival on restaurant menus.

Look out for decent sized John Doryís, they grow to a maximum of 4lb/1.8kg but a 2lb/1000g would provide a nice sized main course. I like to cook John Dory with fairly rustic ingredients such as salsify, mushrooms, potatoes and olives. Asparagus goes well as does some caramelised chicory or some sweet herbs, namely tarragon and chervil. Keep the bones once the fish has been filleted for an excellent fish stock.


Content and picture © Miles Collins