I love John Dory. I can’t believe I’ve gone this far in my life without trying it until this year. Its sweet and delicate fleshy meat personally reminds me of shrimp. This made me wonder if dory would be equally delicious as a substitute in dishes typically made with shrimp.
So I decided to try and poach it in one of my favorite Mexican dishes: camarones a la diabla. However, being here in Malaysia and so far away from Mexico, it can be difficult to get habaneros, pablanos and all the other delicious chilies so plentiful in Mexico. So, what did I settle with? A hodge-podge of local red chilies. The end result is a slightly spicy sauce tomato and white wine broth that doesn’t overpower but instead compliments the delicate meat of the dory. Add the citrus elements of the fresh cilantro and lemon juice and it’s one tasty dish!
2-3 John Dory fillets (boneless)
3-4 medium red chilies (whichever is available and is your favorite)
2-3 medium sized tomatoes
6 garlic cloves
2 cups water (a little under 500 ml)
½ cup white wine (120ml)
2 tbsp butter (melted)
Roughly cut up the tomatoes, garlic cloves and red chilies (with the stems removed), drizzle with 2 tbsp melted butter and roast in the oven at 220C/450F for about 20 min.
Once cooled, blend the roasted chilies, tomatoes and garlic together in a food processor or blender with 2 cups of water, transfer to a large saucepan and heat over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then add 1/2 cup white wine. Continue cooking until alcohol has cooked off and mixture has reduced by half. Once reduced, season with salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
Add dory fillets and spoon sauce over the fish until completely submerged. Poach on a medium simmer in the sauce for 8-10 minutes or until fish is firm and flaky. Top with chopped cilantro and drizzle fresh lemon juice on top.