Pan fried John Dory with sauce vierge and basil mash. A classic French way of serving fish is to pair it with a vinaigrette – in this case, a very lemony vinaigrette. Soft, fluffy mash infused with basil sits under the fish and gives a contrasting texture to the crispy skin of the fish. Created by Lynda Booth Dublin Cookery School
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- 4 x 170g John Dory fillets
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Knob of butter, for pan-frying
- Basil mash, to serve
- Basil sprigs, to garnish
- 2 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and diced, to garnish
- 85ml good-quality extra virgin olive oil
- 25ml lemon juice
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
- A few basil leaves, cut into julienne strips
- 900g potatoes
- 110g butter
- 200ml milk (or a combination of milk and cream)
- Bunch of basil leaves, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Firstly, prepare the basil mash, leaving out the basil until the fish is about to be served. Peel the potatoes and steam until cooked. Pass them through a food mill or ricer back into the saucepan. Put the butter and milk in another saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Place the potatoes over a low flame and begin adding the warm milk mixture. Beat the potatoes with a wooden spoon or spatula until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Mix the basil into the potatoes. Taste and season as necessary.
- To make the sauce vierge Place the olive oil in a small saucepan and heat gently just to warm through. (If you overheat the oil, you will lose a lot of flavour.) Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and crushed coriander seeds. Leave to infuse. When cold, add the basil and season before serving.
- To cook the John Dory With a sharp knife, cut small gashes on the skin, about 3cm wide (this helps stop it from curling up during the cooking). Season the fish. Heat a non-stick frying pan and when hot, add the oil. Place the fish in the pan, skin side down. Cook for a few minutes (without moving the fish) until the skin crisps and becomes golden at the edges. Turn over onto the flesh side, add a knob of butter to the pan (this will give both colour and flavour) and cook for another minute or so, until tender – the exact timing will depend on the thickness of the fish.
- To serve Reheat the mashed potato and add in the basil. Mix, taste and recheck the seasoning. Place a large scoop of mash in the centre of each plate. Place the John Dory on top of the mash. Drizzle some sauce vierge over the fish and around the outside of the plate. Garnish the fish with a sprig of basil and sprinkle some of the tomato dice around the plate.