Peixe Galo, John Dory fish - shutterstock_90230653.jpg

John Dory – Ugly but nice, whatever you call it!

Known in English as John Dory – Zeus faber to use its scientific name – is one of the ugliest edible fish out there, but it is also one of the most delicious.
It’s a fish I often buy at the market or at the Apolónia fish counter where it can often be found ready filleted. But just how did it get so many different names?
The English name John Dory is said to be an adaptation of the French words jaune doré (golden yellow) but then in France it is commonly known as the Saint Pierre fish. Here in Portugal, and also in Spain, it is the peixe galo (‘cockerel fish’), but what the Greek god Zeus has to do with it is anyone’s guess!
The boneless fillets of firm white meat have a delicate flavour and are often served simply pan fried or “en croute” in classic French cuisine, perhaps with a Champagne sauce.
One of my favourite methods is to cut them up into small fillets and deep fry in breadcrumbs for outstanding fish and chips.
But this is a very versatile fish and just last week I marinated some thick fillets in Indian spices and cooked them on the barbecue.
Being so ugly and due to the low yield of meat in relation to the overall size, John Dory is rarely cooked on the bone.
By Patrick Stuart [email protected]