John Dory Fillet with Basil and Green Tomato Sauce

Credit: Didier Loire
Ingredients (4 people)

Deep-Fried Zucchini Skins

  • 1 egg (2 1/4 ounces, 65 g)
  • 5 1/4 ounces flour (150 g)
  • 1 cup water (225 g)
  • minced garlic
  • 5 1/4 quarts grapeseed oil (5 l)
  • 4 1/2 pounds zucchini (2 kg)


Step 1: John Dory

Trim and gently scale the fish, removing the gills, and clean well. Rinse the John Dory under cold running water, and pat dry with a clean dishcloth.

Cut the basil leaves into strips and, using a larding needle, thread them through the John Dory fillets.

Generously grease an oval baking dish large enough to hold the fish without it overlapping. Season the John Dory with fleur de sel and place in the dish.

Wash the green tomatoes and remove the stems. Quarter the tomatoes, place in a blender, and reduce to a purée, then strain into a stainless steel dish through a fine-meshed chinois.

Add the green tomato juice, the butter, and 1/2 cup (10 cl) of seasoning olive oil to the John Dory baking dish.

Place the dish over a high heat and bring to a boil, then bake in a 430°F (220°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes, basting the fish frequently to glaze with the cooking juices.

Once the John Dory is cooked but still pink on the bone, remove it from the oven, and carefully lay the fish on a non-stick sheet pan.

Pour the cooking juices into a saucepan through a small strainer, making sure to bring up all the fond. Reduce if necessary, add the olives, and infuse for 3 minutes on the edge of the range.

Step 2: Deep-Fried Zucchini Skins

In a stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg, water, sifted flour, fleur de sel, and freshly ground pepper together. Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours. Add the minced garlic when ready to use.

Wash the zucchini and dry with a clean, dry cloth. Cut fine strips of skin 1/3 inch (1 cm) wide and 4 inches (10 cm) long, then trim the sides until they are parallel.

Dip the zucchini skins in batter one by one, drain slightly, and deep fry them in grapeseed oil at 320°F (160°C) until lightly golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and pat dry with paper towels. Season immediately with fleur de sel and keep on top of the range, changing the paper towel as often as necessary to keep them crisp and dry.

Step 3: Plating

Reheat the John Dory for 5 minutes in the oven.

Season the sauce to taste, add a few drops of lemon juice, and pour into a warmed sauceboat. Serve the sauce separately, and drizzle it over the dish at the table.

Fillet and skin the fish, then reconstitute it on the plates. Moisten with some seasoning olive oil, and season with fleur de sel and fresh ground pepper. Garnish with the tomatoes.

Present the deep fried zucchini skins on napkins folded into artichokes and serve immediately.

This recipe was originally published in "Culinary Encyclopedia by Alain Ducasse" (Éditions Alain Ducasse). See all credits