Lemon, Caper & Butter Dressed John Dory

Friday 9 August 2019

Today I am going to introduce you to a type of fish you may or may not have ever heard of.  It is probably one of the ugliest fishes you will ever see, but this is one case where you will definitely not want to judge the book by its cover! 

Trust me when I say that this is a most flattering illustration as it is much uglier in real life than this. Other names for this fish are the Saint Pierre, or Peter's fish.  It is said to be the fish that Peter brought to Jesus and a related legend states that the dark spot on its side is St Peter's thumbprint.

All legends aside, this is one very delicious piece of fish, having been described by Jane Grigson to be one of the "most desirable creatures of the sea," and known to be a favourite noted Seafood Chef, Rich Stein.  It has a delicate sweet flavour, comparable to sole or turbot.

I got mine from The Fish Society.  The Fish Society is an online Luxury Fish Monger which carries a huge variety of fish, including everything from A - Z!  I am always really impressed with The Fish Society and its service.  Every piece of fish I have ever gotten from them has been lovely and of the highest quality. 

Such a beautiful piece of fish deserved to be cooked in the simplest of ways.  One thing I love about fish is that it is a protein that cooks quickly and easily.  I have always found with a fish such as John Dory, the simplest method of cookery is the best method to use and so I simply bake it.

Skin side down on an oiled baking sheet, in a moderate oven for only 10 to 12  minutes.  Just long enough for you to prepare a simple sauce to spoon over top.

A delicious sauce that will highlight and enhance the flavours of this beautiful fish.  Lemon, Caper and Butter Sauce  . . .  a delicate sauce for a delicate fish . . .

You begin by browning butter in a small skillet.  Get it foaming and then just let it cook until it starts to turn golden brown. Take care not to burn it!  If you do, you will have to dump it and begin again.  Trust me when I say it can go from perfect to burnt in a split second. I find it best to remove it from the heat just when you notice it turning a golden colour . . .  it will also take on a nutty, almost cookie/biscuity scent.

As soon as you notice this you add a quantity of fresh lemon juice which has been watered down a bit with some cold water  . . .  let this bubble up furiously and then throw in the capers and some chopped fresh parsley . . .

A bit of seasoning and that is it.  Your sauce is ready to pour over your perfectly baked fish!  Voila!

Lemon, Caper & Butter Dressed John Dory

Yield: 2
Beautiful fish, perfectly cooked and adorned with a deliciously simple, Lemon, Caper & Butter Sauce


  •  Olive oil to grease the baking tin
  • 2 John Dory Fillets, skin on
  • salt and black pepper to taste
For the Sauce:
  • the juice of 2 lemons, mixed with 2 TBS water
  • 60g butter (1/4 cup)
  • 4 TBS non-pareil capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and black pepper to taste


How to cook Lemon, Caper & Butter Dressed John Dory

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Oil a baking tray large enough to hold the fish fillets in one layer. Season them lightly with salt and black pepper.  Place them, skin side down, onto the baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.  The fish should flake easily when done.
  2. While the fish is baking make the sauce.  Melt the butter in a small skillet until it begins to foam, over moderate heat. Continue to heat until it just begins to turn golden brown and smell nutty. Take care not to let it burn.  Immediately add half of the lemon juice/water mixture.  Taste and add only enough of the remainder of the lemon/water mixture as desired. (I use it all but I love the flavour of lemon)  Allow it to cook and bubble up fiercely.  Add the capers and parsley. Season to taste and keep warm until the fish is done.  Immediately pour over the cooked fish and serve.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Todd enjoyed his with some crisp frites and runner beans from our garden.  I enjoyed mine with a lovely salad. We were both very happy.  This fish is so delicious.  Don't worry however if you can't get John Dory, you can use the same method to cook Sole or TurbotTilapia would also be nice cooked this way.  You can't go wrong with a decent piece of fish and The Fish Society has some of the nicest fish around, delivered fresh/frozen right to your door.

Coming Tomorrow: Raspberry & Chocolate Ice Cream Parfait along with Nine other Parfait Ideas   


  1. Fish and capers๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™

    1. I agree Monique! They are perfect partners! xoxo

  2. I never HAVE heard of this fish. But it looks gorgeous!

    1. It is not a really common fish Jeanie, but a most delicious one. You can use any mild flavoured white fish and cook it in this same way with very tasty results! xoxo

  3. Cook this today with John Dory fillet!
    Sauce was exquisite & went so well with the fish. Thanks for explaining the recipe & technique so well ๐Ÿ˜‹


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