How to make: John Dory with creamed peas, lettuce and pancetta

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

John Dory: consider pairing with Brewster's Helles
John Dory: consider pairing with Brewster's Helles

Related tags: Cooking

Wright Brothers, based in London’s Spitalfields market, supplies more than 150 pubs and restaurants across the UK with fresh fish and seafood. This recipe from Wright Brothers chef Richard Kirkwood is a sure-fire crowd pleaser


(serves 2) 

  • 2 John Dory (500g-700g) filleted
  • 200g fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 head of little gem lettuce
  • 200g sliced pancetta
  • 500ml good chicken stock
  • ½ bunch chopped mint
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 lemon halved 
  • 50g butter


Because the John Dory consists of three fillets per side, use a sharp knife to separate the fillets and set aside. There will now be three smaller fillets per person.

In a saucepan, reduce the chicken stock by three quarters then add the cream and reduce to a thickened consistency. Set aside for later.

Cut the pancetta slices into 1cm-thick pieces and place in a warm saucepan. Do not use any oil or fat because this will come from the bacon and will help to flavour the sauce.

When the pancetta is cooked, add the sliced little gem lettuce and the peas. Then, when wilted, add the reduced chicken stock and whisk in the butter, finish with the chopped mint, and a squeeze of lemon to taste. Season as required but remember the pancetta is salty, so maybe just a turn of pepper.

To cook the John Dory fillets, warm a frying pan with a little oil and lightly season the fillets, placing them in the pan skin side down. The aim is to cook the fillets to create a crust on the skin, making sure they do not overcook. For the last 10 seconds, squeeze half of the lemon into the pan and flip the fillets over, and then remove from the pan.

To serve, place a spoonful of the garnish into the middle of the bowl plate, arrange the fillets on top and spoon a little bit of the remaining sauce around the plates.

And to drink?

Jane Peyton, founder of School of Booze, recommends pairing Brewster’s Brewing Company’s Helles with this dish.

She says: “John Dory has a mild flavour, but firm texture. This dish contains cream and so we need a beer that has a crisp acidic character to cut through the cream, butter and texture of the fish, but not overwhelm its delicate flavours.

“Helles is a light flavoured, light bodied, refreshing beer and is a perfect accompaniment.”

Alternatively, Bullfinch cider by Sheppy’s would complement the dish well.

Peyton says: “Bullfinch is a medium sparkling cider with gentle tannins and mild acidity that works to enhance delicate white fish and shellfish.

Related topics: Menu Ideas

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