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John Dory, nettles, cuttlefish, ink sauce

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for John Dory, nettles, cuttlefish, ink sauce by Moon Under Water in Melbourne.

By Andrew McConnell & Josh Murphy
  • 50 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
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John Dory, nettles, cuttlefish, ink sauce
“Stinging nettles are best eaten in early spring,” says Josh Murphy. “We like to pair them with fresh, often raw, seafood. Here we’ve served them with briefly cooked cuttlefish as an accompaniment to the John Dory, which has a particularly sweet flesh.”


  • 3 small cuttlefish, cleaned, guts and heads reserved for ink sauce
  • 3 John Dory fillets, skin on (about 300gm each)
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • To taste: lemon juice
Ink sauce
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, bruised
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 tsp squid ink
Nettle purée
  • 120 gm (4 cups firmly packed) trimmed stinging nettles
  • 20 ml olive oil
  • 3 golden shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock


  • 1
    For ink sauce, heat oil in a wide saucepan, add onion and carrot and stir occasionally until starting to caramelise (10-15 minutes). Add garlic and cuttlefish trimmings and stir occasionally until vegetables are deep-brown and cuttlefish is golden (10-15 minutes). Add wine and simmer until reduced to about 50ml (4-5 minutes). Add stock and thyme, bring to the simmer, then skim any scum from surface. Add squid ink and simmer gently until well-flavoured and reduced to a coating consistency (1-1¼ hours). Strain through a fine sieve, season to taste and keep warm.
  • 2
    For nettle purée, stand nettles in a large bowl of cold water so dirt sinks to the bottom (10 minutes), scoop leaves from water with a sieve and drain. Blanch leaves until tender (2 minutes), drain, refresh, then drain well on absorbent paper. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add shallot and garlic, stir occasionally until tender and translucent (5-10 minutes), add wine and reduce to 1 tbsp (5-10 minutes). Add stock, simmer until reduced by half (10-15 minutes), add nettles and simmer for 1 minute. Transfer to a food processor, blend until smooth, season to taste and keep warm.
  • 3
    Blanch cuttlefish until tender (30 seconds), refresh, then drain on absorbent paper.
  • 4
    Trim each fish fillet into two 3cm x 8cm rectangles and season skin with sea salt. Heat two frying pans over medium heat, add 50ml olive oil to each pan, and add half the fish, skin-side down, to each pan. Reduce heat to low, cook until skin is golden and crisp (2 minutes), remove pans from heat, turn fish and add a little lemon juice to each pan. Drain fish on absorbent paper.
  • 5
    Place a spoonful of nettle purée on each plate, top with one fish finger. Toss blanched cuttlefish in a little lemon juice, divide among plates, dollop with ink sauce and serve.


This recipe is from the September 2012 issue of .
Drink Suggestion: Equipo Navazos No 27 Fino. Drink suggestion by Campbell Burton

  • Author: Andrew McConnell & Josh Murphy