Crisp-Skinned John Dory with Fondant Potatoes and Baby Fennel

Bordelaise Sauce



Bordelaise Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 french shallots, sliced
  • 3 button mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ celery stalk, sliced
  • ½ garlic clove
  • 100 g ( oz) beef bone marrow, soaked overnight in water with a little vinegar to cleanse it
  • 1 strip of orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon sliced fresh ginger
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 50 ml ( fl oz) white wine vinegaar
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) white wine
  • 80 ml ( fl oz) veal stock
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) double brown chicken stock

Fondant Potatoes

  • 20 miniature potatoes
  • 100 g ( oz) butter
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) white chicken stock
  • 203 cm × 1.5 cm ( inch × ¾ inch) pancetta pieces
  • 16 finger fennels
  • 50 g ( oz) butter
  • 50 ml ( fl oz) white chicken stock


To make the bordelaise sauce, melt the butter to foaming point in a saucepan. Add the shallots, button mushrooms, celery and garlic and half the bone marrow and cook until lightly caramelized. Add the orange peel, the sliced ginger and the tomatoes and cook until the sauce has a syrupy consistency. Add the white wine vinegar and cook until evaporated. Add the white wine and cook until reduced by half, then add the veal stock and chicken stock. Dice the remaining bone marrow into 3 mm ( inch) pieces and add to the sauce.

To make the fondant potatoes, cut the potatoes to your preferred shape. Melt the butter in a wide pan and then add the potatoes. Sprinkle the potatoes with the thyme and bay leaf, then pour in enough white chicken stock to cover at least half of the potatoes. Cook until the stock evaporates and the potatoes are coloured. Remove the pan from the heat and turn the potatoes. Repeat the process until the stock has evaporated and the potatoes are golden.

Place the pancetta pieces on a wire rack on a baking tray. Cook in a preheated 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) oven until crisp.

Trim the finger fennels of any tired or dirty outside leaves. In a sauté pan, bring the butter to a foam. Add the fennel and cook until caramelized, then add the chicken stock and keep cooking until emulsified.

Heat the clarified butter in a frying pan until very hot. Dust the skin of the fish with seasoned flour and pat to remove any excess. Place a piece of baking paper on the flesh side and sear the fish, skin side down. Place another pan on top of the fish so that the skin is completely flat in the pan and cooks evenly. Cook the fish for 2-3 minutes until the skin is crisp. Remove from the pan and peel away the paper.

To serve, warm the fennel purée. Place small dabs of purée around the plate, leaving enough room in the centre for the john dory. Place the fondant potatoes in the purée. Place a piece of crisp pancetta next to each fondant, then rest four finger fennels against the fondants. Dot some bordelaise sauce with the marrow dice around the place. Place the john dory in the centre and sprinkle with sea salt.