John Dory with lightly spiced mussels recipe

John Dory with mussels
from Cooking It
Give John Dory a little extra mussel with this scrumptious recipe from Channel 4's Cooking It

Watch all the Cooking It tips, demos and recipes again on 4OD

Serves 4


For the fish:

  • 1 tbsp mild olive oil
  • 4 x 125g John Dory fillets, each sliced diagonally into three pieces
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • Fine sea salt

For the vegetables:

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into perfect 1cm dice
  • 100g small cauliflower florets
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into perfect 1cm dice
  • 25g butter
  • 1 medium leek - inner leaves only - cut into perfect 1cm dice

For the mussels:

  • 2 tbsp mild olive oil
  • ½ large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stick, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/3 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
  • ½ large leek, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Good pinch saffron threads
  • ½ tsp medium curry powder
  • 1.5kg fresh mussels, well scrubbed and rinsed
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 300ml fresh chicken stock (preferably organic)
  • 3 tbsp crème fraiche
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper


How to make John Dory with lightly spiced mussels

1. To prepare the mussels, heat the oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole. Add the onion, celery and fennel. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly until well softened. Add the leek and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in thyme leaves, bay leaf, saffron and curry powder and fry gently for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Tip the mussels into the pan and add the wine. Cover tightly with a lid and bring to the boil. Cook for about 2 minutes until the mussels start to open, shaking the pan every now and then and stirring once or twice. Add the stock and return to the boil. Cover and continue cooking for a further 3-4 minutes until all the mussels open (discard any that haven't opened after this time). Stir in the crème fraiche and season with ground black pepper and a little freshly squeezed lemon juice.

3. Remove from the heat and tip into a colander over a large bowl. Drain the mussels then pour the mussels sauce though a fine sieve into a clean medium saucepan. Transfer 2 ladlefuls of the sieved sauce into a clean small saucepan. Set aside. Remove 20 of the mussels from their shells, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

4. To prepare the vegetables, place the diced potato in a small pan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook for 6-8 minutes until soft then drain. Put the diced carrot in a small pan with a knob of the butter. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook for 6-8 minutes until soft; drain. Do the same thing with the cauliflower and cook for 4-5 minutes before draining. Put the leek in a small pan with a knob of water and cook gently for 2 minutes until softened. Transfer to a plate.

5. To prepare the fish, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Season the fish fillets with a little salt. Cook, skin side down, for 4-5 minutes, then turn over a cook for a further 1-2 minutes on the other side. The fish is ready when the skin is crisp and golden and the flesh has turned white - don't overcook. Squeeze over a little lemon juice.

6. To finish the dish, add all the cooked vegetables to the medium pan with the reserved mussel sauce. Heat gently for 2 minutes, stirring regularly until hot. Add the reserved shelled mussels. Warm through for a few seconds then stir in the chives, add a squeeze of lemon and season to taste. Bring the small pan of reserved mussel sauce to the boil.

7. Spoon the mussels, vegetables and mussel sauce into the centre of four large, deep plates. Place the John Dory fillets on top. Blend the sauce in the small saucepan with a hand blender until frothy. Spoon some of the froth over the John Dory and vegetables. Serve.

Recipes tips from Jun

Tip 1. Use any fish fillet you like for this recipe. Sea bass works particularly well, but less expensive fish, such as haddock or cod, are also suitable. Lightly flour skinless fillets to help stop them sticking.

Tip 2. Soak the mussels in plenty of cold water for 20 minutes before using. Scrub well, remove the hairy beards. Discard any with broken or cracked shells and those that don't close as soon as they are tapped. After cooking, discard any that don't open.

Tip 3. To make the dish like a professional, cut all the vegetables into neat, even-sized pieces.

Tip 4. No hand blender? Don't worry about frothing the mussel sauce - it looks great for presentation, but tastes just as good without.

Fancy some more seafood recipes?

Saffron and seafood stew
Seafood chowder
Crab risotto
Garlic squid with linguine
Mussels with tomatoes

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