Pan-fried John Dory with Norfolk mussels, celeriac, apples and chives

  • medium
  • 4
  • 60 minutes
Not yet rated

William Drabble's pan-fried John Dory recipe lovingly pairs the firm, white-fleshed fish with mussels, earthy spinach, apple and celeriac. Also known as St Peter's fish, tradition says that the characteristic black spot found on either side of the body is an impression of the saint's thumb. John Dory is rather fiddly to handle, so ask your fishmonger to fillet the fish for you – but keep the bones as you will need them for the wonderful cider sauce.

First published in 2015




Pan-fried John Dory with Norfolk mussels, celeriac, apples and chives


Cut the John Dory fillets straight down the centre so you have 8 pieces, then score the centre of each piece
Chop the bones, remove the gills from the head and wash the bones and head under running water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside
Place 100g of the butter into a pan and melt gently. Sweat down the shallots, garlic and celery until soft but not coloured. Add the bones and sweat for a couple of minutes
Add 200ml of the cider and enough water just to cover the bones. Bring to the boil and cook very slowly for 15 minutes
Strain through a sieve lined with a muslin cloth into a pan. Reduce the stock over a medium high heat to 250ml. Add the double cream, re-boil and set to one side
  • 100ml of double cream
Cut the celeriac into 5mm dice and cook in boiling salted water. Refresh in iced water then drain and set to one side
Heat a pan with a lid and add the cleaned mussels. Pour in the remaining cider and cover with the lid so that the mussels steam open very quickly
When the shells have opened, tip them into a colander set in a bowl to retain the liquid
Remove the mussels from the shells and put to one side. Pass the liquid through a sieve lined with six layers of muslin cloth and set aside
To cook the fish, get a large non-stick pan and add the olive oil. Place the fish into the hot oil skin side down and pan fry gently until half cooked
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
Turn the fish over and remove the pan from the stove, the fish will cook through in the residual heat
Wilt the spinach in the rest of the butter and season with salt
Bring the sauce up to the boil and add some of the mussel stock to taste. Add the celeriac, apple and mussels, bring back to the boil then add the chives
Divide the spinach between four bowls, arranging it in mounds in the centre of each bowl
Pour the sauce around and arrange the apple, celeriac and mussels around the bowls
Place two fillets of John Dory per portion on the spinach and serve immediately
First published in 2015

Beginning his career as an unpaid kitchen worker at the age of fourteen, William Drabble has steadily worked his way up to the position of Executive Chef at one of London's most prestigious hotels.

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