John Dory, Braised Lambs’ Tongues and Red Wine Emulsion


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Formulas for Flavour

By John Campbell

Published 2001

  • About

This dish combines two diverse flavours: slightly sweet and rich lambs’ tongues with the subtly earthy sea taste of John Dory. The pairing is enhanced by peppery watercress and sweet onions, so there are many different flavours on the plate, all working together to deliver an exciting taste experience. If you are not keen on lambs’ tongues, or are unable to source them, a suitable alternative would be braised rib meat or oxtail.


Braised Lambs’ Tongues

  • 250 g/9 oz lambs’ tongues
  • 60 g/2 oz/¼ cup sea salt
  • 50 ml/2 floz/¼ cup corn oil
  • 250 g/9 oz mirepoix
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 50 g/2 oz smoked bacon
  • 150 ml/5 floz/ cup red wine
  • 125 ml/4/½ floz/½ cup lamb jus
  • 250 ml/9 floz/1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 star anise
  • 150 ml/5 floz/ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp grated stem ginger


    For the Braised Tongues

    Rinse the lambs’ tongues and place in 1 litre/1¾ pints/1 quart of cold water with half the salt. Ensure the tongues are immersed and leave overnight. Repeat this process the following day and leave to soak for a second night.

    To braise the tongues, heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the mirepoix, garlic and bacon until browned.

    Remove the tongues from the soaking water and pat dry. Add to the pan and brown on all sides for about 15 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil. Cover with foil and simmer for 3-4 hours over a very low heat until the skin on the tongue peels away easily (1).

    Remove the pan from the heat and leave the tongues to cool in the cooking liquor. When cool, peel and trim off any skin and sinew from the tongues leaving a clean piece of meat (2).

    Strain the cooking liquor into a clean pan, bring to a boil and boil until the volume of liquid has reduced by half. Add the tongues, then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Place in a covered container in the fridge. They can be stored like this for up to 1 week.

    For the Red Wine Emulsion

    Heat the oil in a heavy pan, and brown the mirepoix, apple and garlic. Add the wine and port and simmer over a medium heat for 45 minutes.

    Strain the wine mixture, then place it in a saucepan with the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer over a moderate heat for 1 hour, or until the volume of liquid has reduced to 200 ml/7 floz/scant 1 cup and the sauce is a syrupy consistency (3).

    Pass the sauce through a strainer and set aside until ready to complete the dish. Alternatively, cool and store in a covered container in the fridge.

    To Complete

    Ensure the fish fillets are free from scales, then cut each into 2 pieces giving 4 first course portions . Alternatively, leave whole to give 2 main course portions. Pat the fish dry and place in the fridge until needed.

    Remove the lamb tongues from the cooking liquor and slice each into 3 pieces. Place the cooking liquor in a small saucepan, add the sliced tongues and braised shallots and place over a low heat to warm through.

    Put the red wine emulsion on the stove and heat until the sauce is hot but not steaming — 85°C/185°F is the ideal temperature; do not let it boil. Whisk in the butter, cream and milk.

    Place a little butter in a frying pan, add the wild mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes or until soft.

    Add the spinach and watercress. When they have wilted, transfer the contents of the pan to the tongue mixture and adjust the seasoning to taste. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a lid and set aside in a warm place.

    Heat a little oil in a nonstick frying pan. Season the fish and, when the oil is hot, place it in the pan skin-side down and cook until golden brown, which will take about 1 minute. Turn the fillets, add a little butter to the pan and cook on the other side — dory cooks quickly so take care not to cook it for longer than 3 minutes in total.

    Place the meat mixture in the centre of some serving plates. Drain the fish and lay it on top. Using a whisk or electric hand blender, whisk the red wine emulsion until a cappuccino-like foam appears (4), then spoon the froth over the plates and serve immediately.