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John Dory with Caper, Black Olive and Vine Tomato Salad

by Adam Byatt from How To Eat In

Delicious pan fried John Dory with a caper, black olive and tomato salad. The lightly seasoned fish is married with a colourful salad recipe and basil shoots.


This is a simple, summery salad that will deliver exactly what it says on the tin, so long as you take the time to buy great ingredients. We use a small Italian plum tomato called San Marzano, bought still on the vine. These tomatoes need cutting down the centre, a sprinkling of salt and not much else.

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4 x 150g fillets John Dory (skin on)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
10g butter
Juice of half a lemon
For the salad:
250g small plum vine tomatoes
80g black olives
2 small red onions
75ml good-quality olive oil
50g fine capers
2 tsp sea salt
50g basil shoots



For the salad, cut each tomato lengthways into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Cut the olives lengthways and remove the stones. Peel and finely slice the onions.

Place the tomatoes, olives and onions in a large bowl and combine well with the oil, capers and salt. Add half the basil shoots and mix well. Leave to marinate in a tray or other flat container at room temperature for at least an hour (or up to 8 hours) before serving.


Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat, then splash in some olive oil. Once the oil is hot, place the fillets flesh-side down in the pan. Take care to lay the fish away from you so that the hot oil doesn’t splash your hand.

Cook the fish until golden brown (this will take no more than 2 minutes), then turn the fillets over on to their skin sides and remove the pan from the heat.

Add the butter and lemon juice to the pan and allow the fish to sit in the pan for 1 minute.

Divide the salad equally between 4 bowls and spoon over the juice that has collected in the tray.

Lift the fish out of the pan and drain well, then place skin-side down on top of the salad. Scatter the remaining basil shoots around and serve straight away.


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