John Dory

John dory (Zeus faber) There are several varieties of the dory that come from two fish groups. The six species belonging to the Zeidae family are found worldwide in temperate waters. These solitary fish have a wide, compressed body, a dramatic display of dorsal fins, and retractable jaws (so they are able to vacuum up their prey). The group from the Oreosomatidae (oreo) family include the smooth oreo and black oreo dories. With similarities to the dories of the Zeidae group, they have extremely large eyes set in a big head, a compressed body, and grey and black skin. These fish are found in waters around Australia and New Zealand, where they are fished commercially. They are thought to be slow-growing, living up to 100 years. They reach 70–90cm (28–35in) in length. Silvery John dory (Zenopsis conchifer) is also known as the American John dory, sailfin dory or buckler dory in the USA and Australia. It is caught in the western Indian Ocean and the Atlantic, and is popular in Japan. The mirror dory (Zenopsis nebulosa) is a similar species found in Indo-Pacific waters.

John dory is highly prized for its excellent eating  quality. Sharp barbs around the fish need to be trimmed before filleting. The skin is delicate and can be left on if cooking the fish whole, or it can be skinned, revealing the fillet’s three natural sections. The fish’s wonderfully sweet and firm texture is often matched with rich, creamy sauces, wild mushrooms, sage, capers, lemon, and crème fraîche

CUTS Whole (usually gutted); fillets.

EAT Try dories pan-fried, grilled, steamed, or baked.

CLASSIC RECIPE Bouillabaisse.


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