If you have a friendly fishmonger, ask him to fillet the John Dory for you. If not, clean the fish, wash it and place it flat on a chopping board. With the point of a small sharp knife, pierce the skin at the inner edge of the encircling bony fringe and trace the outline of the fish all the way round, as if you were re-drawing it, but
To skin the fillets, place them skin-side down on the chopping board. Starting at the tail end, and keeping the skin flat against the board, run your very sharp knife carefully to and fro between the skin and the flesh until the latter is completely free. Cut each fillet into strips the size of your index finger and set aside. Repeat with the other three fillets.
Peel the carrot and trim the leek and celery. Wash all three and cut them into coarse julienne strips about the size of the prong of a carving fork. Peel and wash the potato and cut in large dice. Put it in a small saucepan with lightly salted water to cover. Top and tail the French beans and wash them. Cook in a large pan of boiling salted water for 4–5 minutes. Remove from the heat when they are still slightly crisp and refresh in cold water. Drain and keep on one side.
Chop the chives finely and keep them on one side.
Put the potato (2) on to cook until tender.
Put the julienne vegetables (2) into a small saucepan with a pinch of salt,
Pour the cream into a saucepan, salt lightly and add the strips of John Dory (1). Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes -not a second more!
Place a strainer over the container of the liquidiser and drain the cream into it. Put the drained fillets in the pan with the julienne vegetables and the beans, which should be completely dry. Add half the cooked potato dice (4) to the cooking juices in the liquidiser and purée until you have a smooth light sauce. If it seems too thin, add a little more potato. Add the remaining butter and blend again briefly. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Pour the light sauce over the fish and vegetables in the saucepan and bring rapidly to the boil. Stir in the chopped chives and serve at once in deep plates.
© 1979 All rights reserved. Published by Macmillan.