John Dory in Goat Cheese, Tomato & Rosemary Sauce

My mum found a variant of this recipe in a French magazine years ago and I have always been a huge fan. The original one was slightly more sophisticated – it had morels. Yum! It indeed would be delicious with morels, but we’ll keep these for very special occasions. For casual dining or even dinner parties, I recommend this simpler version. While quick and easy, this recipe tends to make a big impression and even convert the fish skeptics.


Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2


  • 4 small John Dory fillets or 2 large ones
  • 75g or half a log of fresh goat cheese
  • 10ml of thickened cream
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 3 to 4 tomatoes
  • 1 bunch broccolini*

Step 1 – Prepare the fish: Rub the fish fillets with olive oil and leave them to rest.

Step 2 – Prepare the tomatoes: Peel and seed the tomatoes*, and cut them into 16 chunks (cut each eighth into 2).

Step 3 – Make the sauce: In a small saucepan, whisk the goat cheese with the thickened cream over medium heat until homogenous. Then add the dices of tomato and the washed rosemary sprigs*. Cook, on gentle boil, for 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce takes an orange colour. Stir occasionally to ensure that the sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Step 4 – Boil the greens: Bring a pot of salted water to a gentle boil and cook the broccolini for 7 minutes*. Drain and set aside.

Step 5 – Pan-fry the fish: Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Once hot, add the fish fillets, skin down, and hold them flat with a small plate or the back of a spatula. This will ensure even cooking by preventing the fillets from curling. Once the edges of the fillets have turned opaque, turn the fish over and cook for another minute skin up*. Then, take the frying pan off the heat and let the fish rest for one minute or so in the pan before serving. It will keep cooking while it is resting. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets.

Step 6 – Serve: Place a generous quantity of sauce in a deep plate and place the broccolini and fish fillets on top. Season to taste and decorate with a rosemary sprig.

Wine Match

Enjoy with a Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Riesling.

Mix & Match

Not a fan of greens? Try replacing broccolini by roast pumpkin or boiled potatoes. They will work wonder at absorbing the sauce. As per the original recipe, you could also add a side of pan-fried mushrooms. Finally, John Dory could be replaced by Snapper or Leather Jacket to name a few.

*Did you Know?

  • To peel tomatoes, cut a cross through the skin of the base of the tomato and immerse in boiling water for 30 seconds. Rinse in cold water and the skin will come off easily.

  • To seed a tomato, cut it into quarters and remove the seeds with your fingers.
  • To achieve beautiful green and crunchy broccolini, cook the broccolini in salted water for 7 minutes on gentle boil. If you are not going to eat the broccolini straight away, rinse them under cold/icy water to stop the cooking process. This way, they will retain a bright green colour and an attractive crunch! When you are ready to serve, reheat the broccolini by briefly re-plunging it in boiling water.
  • Cooking vegetables in salted water improves the retention of flavour and nutrients.
  • To obtain a nice crispy skin use a generous quantity of olive oil and make sure that the pan is really hot before adding the fish. For thin fillets like John Dory, Snapper or Leather Jackets, do most of the cooking skin down.
  • Broccolini was developed in Japan by crossing broccoli and kai-lan (Chinese broccoli).
  • To prevent rosemary leaves from falling into the sauce, wrap the rosemary sprigs in a permeable cloth. I use original superwipes by Chux.

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