Pan Fried John Dory with a Saffron Sauce

John Dory comes at the top of my favourite fish, its flesh is tender with truly succulent flavour. It is excellent pan fried and grilled and like all seafood is best prepared simply. In this recipe I complement the fish with a little orange zest and thyme.

6 Portions
Prep: 15 minutes (plus 30 minutes marinating)
Cook: 20 minutes


John Dory

  • 6x 150g-200g John Dory fillets, each sliced at an angle width wise into three equal pieces
  • juice and zest of half and orange
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, bruised
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil to cook


  • 300ml fish stock
  • 200ml noilly prat or dry white wine
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 4 plum tomatoes or vine ripened tomatoes, concasse (deseeded and diced)
  • 2 tbsp shredded basil leaves

To Serve

  • Crushed New Potatoes (see recipe), with a handful of watercress mixed in
  • rocket


  1. John Dory: Place the orange juice and zest, thyme, garlic and olive oil in a large bowl and toss the John Dory in the marinade. Allow the John Dory to marinate covered in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Sauce: Pour the stock and wine into a saucepan and bring it to the boil then reduce it to simmer and leave it to reduce by two thirds. Add the double cream and stir in the saffron return to a simmer and reduce by a third so that you have a sauce consistency. Remove the sauce from the stove and keep warm until ready to serve. You may cover with a kartouche (grease proof paper with butter) or a layer of melted butter to avoid the sauce from having a skin. When ready to serve stir in the tomato concasse and the shredded basil.
  3. To Cook John Dory: Coat a large frying pan with olive oil and place over a high heat. Remove the John Dory from the marinade and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the John Dory skin side down in the hot pan, allow to cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, so that they are golden and cooked through. Serve hot.
  4. To Serve: Place a handful of rocket in the centre of each plate or bowl and top with some crushed new potatoes with watercress. Arrange the John Dory fillets on the potato (3 pieces each), pour the sauce around the plate or bowl. Serve at once.