Grilled John Dory with braised fennel and anchovy vinaigrette

Grilled John Dory with braised fennel and anchovy vinaigrette

I use fennel and I use anchovies a lot.  They are a combination that were just made for seafood and because eating seafood is really all about the fish itself and the romance of the season and the area of ocean from where it was caught I see no point in trying to reinvent the wheel.  If the flavours are good and they work with fish then keep using them as they will support any piece of fish well.

I love this braised fennel served at room temperature with this creamy anchovy vinaigrette and often enjoy it as a side dish with most of the fish I bring home and it even eats well with a nice roast leg of spring lamb.


150 ml /¼ pt olive oil
150 ml/ ¼ pt white wine vinegar
150 ml/ ¼ pt white wine
2 bay leaves
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 sliced lemon
1 small onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
3 Florence fennel bulbs
John Dory fillets – they will vary in size but allow about 180g / 6 oz per person


For the anchovy vinaigrette
6 salted anchovy fillets
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
100 ml double cream
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Squeeze of lemon
Black pepper


Pre heat the oven to 175C


First braise the fennel by gently heating the olive oil, wine vinegar, wine, bay leaf, fennel seeds and coriander seeds in a pan.   Then add the sliced lemon, onion, sliced garlic and fennel.  Cover and cook in the oven for about an hour until the fennel is tender.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature in the braising liquid.


Make the anchovy vinaigrette by pounding the anchovy fillets in a pestle and mortar.  Then put the mustard in a bowl with the vinegar and whisk together slowly adding the olive oil until those 3 ingredients emulsify. Then add the anchovy paste and gently whisk in the cream.  Add the parsley, a squeeze of lemon and plenty of black pepper.


Heat the grill then brush the John Dory fillets with a little olive oil and season with salt.  Grill for 6-7 minutes until lightly golden.


To serve put 2 or 3 chunks of braised fennel and onion mixture on a plate, place the fish alongside and drizzle with the anchovy vinaigrette.