Poached John Dory with Herbed Aioli

Cook time 45 minutes
Servings 4


60ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 carrot, thinly sliced into rounds
½ onion, sliced
1 celery stalk (about 10cm), thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp black peppercorns
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
500ml white wine
4 x 175g John Dory fillets, skin on

Herbed Aioli
2 egg yolks
2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt flakes
250ml grapeseed oil
Juice of ¼ lemon
Handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped, plus extra sprigs to serve
Handful of dill fronds, finely chopped, plus extra sprigs to serve

Poached John Dory with Herbed Aioli


To start on the aioli, whisk together the egg yolks, vinegar, mustard and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil, gradually adding it more quickly once the aioli begins to emulsify and thicken. When all the oil is whisked in, adjust the seasoning and add the lemon juice.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the vegetables and garlic cloves and sweat, stirring occasionally and being careful they don’t colour, for 5–6 minutes until just tender. Stir in the seeds, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaf, then pour in the wine. Bring to the boil and cook for 8–10 minutes. Add 800 ml of water and bring back to the boil. Remove the stock from the heat and add the fish fillets. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and allow the fish to poach, off the heat, for 2–3 minutes (any longer and it will be dry and chalky). Remove the fillets with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Strain the stock into a bowl and reserve the vegetables and garlic cloves.

Finely chop the cooked reserved garlic cloves and mix into the aioli along with the herbs.
Arrange the reserved vegetables in four shallow dishes. Discard the skin on the fish, place the fish on top of the vegetables and season with a pinch of salt. Spoon over half a ladleful of stock and finish with a dollop of herbed aioli and some extra herbs.