Sautéed John Dory with Vanilla

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

A Feast of Fish

A Feast of Fish

By Ian McAndrew

Published 1989

  • About

This may sound like an unusual combination, and possibly not a very nice one. The answer is not to judge before trying it – John Dory and vanilla really do go very well together indeed. It is also quite a simple dish to prepare and cook and is well worth a try.


  • 2 X 900 g/2 lb John Dory
  • 300 ml/½ pint fish stock
  • 120 ml/4 fl oz dry white wine
  • 300 ml/½ pint double cream
  • 2 fresh vanilla pods
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 15 g/½ oz unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • Good pinch of sugar


    Fillet and skin the John Dory. Each fillet breaks naturally into 3 pieces, then split each piece in half lengthwise, so you have 12 strips.

    Reduce the fish stock and white wine in a pan until about only 2 tablespoons remain, then add the cream. Split the vanilla pods in two lengthwise, scrape out the centre and add to the sauce. Cut the pods again in two and add to the sauce. Reduce this a little until it just starts to thicken.

    Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the butter. Season the strips of fish and fry gently, turning only once, until cooked and slightly browned. The fish should take no more than 1 minute each side to cook. Season the sauce using the lemon juice and the sugar. Remove the vanilla pods from the sauce and reserve.