Chef's Recipes

John Dory with herb butter

"John Dory needs butter," says David Moyle. We can get behind that.

By David Moyle
  • 5 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking
  • Serves 4 - 6
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"You don't need to do too much more to John Dory than add herbs and butter. John Dory needs butter," says David Moyle. "It's also important that it gets heat through to the bone - it dramatically improves the flavour."
Moyle uses a fish basket, but if you don't have one a couple of oiled cake racks or wire racks will do the trick.


  • 2 (600gm-700gm each) John Dory, cleaned, head on
  • Canola oil spray, or other neutral-flavoured oil spray
  • 150 gm butter, diced
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 2 oregano sprigs
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Lemon cheeks, to serve


  • 1
    Prepare a barbecue for grilling, and preheat oven to 160°C. Secure fish in a barbecue fish basket (see note). Spray the fish and basket lightly with oil and cook directly over coals until the skin is lightly scorched (2 minutes each side), then transfer to the oven or raise the fish further away from the heat to cook through to the bone (10-12 minutes). Rest in a warm place for 2-3 minutes.
  • 2
    While fish is resting, warm butter, herbs and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat (3-4 minutes).
  • 3
    Season fish with salt, spoon butter mixture on top and serve with lemon cheeks.


Fish baskets are available from barbecue shops and specialist kitchenware shops.
Drink suggestion: Barbecued fish calls for a crunchy, berry-oriented chilled red. A cool glass of 2017 Chèvre Spring Red even has a light spritz to bolster its cheery cherry-juice vitality. Drink suggestion by Mike Bennie

  • Author: David Moyle