Barbecued John Dory with green sauce and chicory

Barbecued John Dory with green sauce and chicory

Fish Kitchen
David Loftus

I came up with this idea when I was creating rubs for meats. Why not a rub for fish? John Dory is the perfect candidate and it cooks so well on the bone, especially on the barbecue. And the green sauce works wonders with the sweet John Dory flesh and charred chicory.


Quantity Ingredient
1 john dory
or 2 smaller fish
4 heads chicory, trimmed and leaves separated
olive oil, for cooking
cornish sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Spice rub

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon sea salt

Green sauce

Quantity Ingredient
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons capers in vinegar, drained
6 good-quality salted anchovies
2 large gherkins
a handful rocket leaves
a handful flat-leaf parsley
1/2 handful mint
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon english mustard
100ml extra virgin olive oil


  1. Light the barbecue 30 minutes before starting to cook. To make the spice rub, toast the spices in a dry pan over a medium heat for a minute or until fragrant. Tip into a mortar, add the salt and a drizzle of oil and grind with the pestle.
  2. Spread the spice rub over the fish, taking care – John Dory has some nasty spikes!
  3. For the sauce, finely chop the garlic, capers, anchovies and gherkins together; put to one side. Next chop the rocket, parsley and mint together finely. Now chop the two mixtures together and place in a bowl. Stir in the wine vinegar and mustard. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to bind the mixture. Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl, cover and set aside.
  4. Put the chicory leaves into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to mix. Thread a large skewer through the bottom of the leaves and another, parallel, skewer through the tops, so all the leaves are held tightly on both skewers.
  5. When ready to eat, place the chicory skewers on the barbecue and cook for about 4 minutes on each side until the leaves begin to soften and char. Move the chicory to the side of the barbecue to keep warm while you cook the fish.
  6. Cook the fish (in a barbecue fish clamp if you have one) on the hottest part of the barbecue for 3–5 minutes without moving. Turn carefully and cook for a further 3–5 minutes until done.
  7. Meanwhile, remove the chicory leaves from the skewers. Transfer the fish to a warm platter and arrange the chicory on the side. Serve at once, with the green sauce.
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