Often named St. Peter’s fish (St. Pierre in France, Janitore in Spain), as he is alleged to be the origin of the distinctive dark ‘thumbprint’ (or spot) on its side as a thank you for some help with his tax! The English name John Dory arrived from the French ‘jaune doré’ meaning ‘golden yellow’ – a good description for this unusual looking fish, which varies in size from smaller 230-450g fish up to 2kg. Because of the large head (like Monkfish, this accounts for half its weight), John Dory is best filleted, but beware the low yield (around 35%) and some sharp nasty spines, which require extra care when filleting.
The flesh is creamy white, with a dense texture similar to Dover Sole, which holds up well during cooking. Ideal panfried or grilled, John Dory works well with Mediterranean flavours, salsas, and peppery sauces. It may be an expensive fish with a low yield – but it’s worth it!