4 fillets of John Dory
For the salsify
250g black trumpet mushrooms
100ml sherry vinegar
For the sweetbreads
8 lamb sweetbreads
Fresh white breadcrumbs
Peel the salsify and put straight into cold water with a squeeze of lemon. Cut into lengths of 10cm and cook in boiling salted water for about 20 minutes, then refresh under cold water, drain and dry on kitchen paper.
Place the lamb sweetbreads in a saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes, remove from the heat and run under cold water until the sweetbreads are cool.
Trim the sweetbreads, removing any excess fat and sinew, and lay on some kitchen paper to dry. Cut into even-sized pieces so that you have the same amount for each person. Pass the cooked sweetbreads through the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs and chill in the fridge.
To cook the John Dory, pre-heat the grill, trim the frill off the sides of the fish and leave the skin on. Place the fish on a greased baking tray, season with a little sea salt, and brush with melted butter. Cook under the grill for about 10 minutes which should cook the fish all the way through: if it's a large fillet turn the fish over and grill the flesh side too. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Keep the cooking juices.
To finish the salsify, put a large knob of butter into a frying pan and heat until it starts to foam. Place the blanched salsify into the pan with some fresh thyme and colour on all sides, then remove. Add the wild mushrooms to the frying pan and quickly sauté, season and then remove from the pan. Add another small knob of butter, and 2 tablespoons of the sherry vinegar, then pour any juices from the cooked fish into the pan, heat through and keep warm. This will form a dressing for the finished dish.
Deep fry the sweetbreads for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and then drain on kitchen paper.
To serve, dress the plate with the mushrooms and sweetbreads around the edge, place the salsify in the middle with the John Dory on top, drizzle some of the pan juices around and finish with some fresh herbs.
Taken from On the Menu by James Mackenzie
This is a complex and rich dish, needing a pretty serious wine. The wine I'm thinking about won't be for everyone's palate but will bring another dimension to the dish. It's a classic white Rioja - old-fashioned, rich, oaky, oily; a touch oxidised. The great producer - I've tasted a lot of their range lately - is Vina Tondonia, headed by the charismatic Maria. They are known for extra long ageing of their wines (white and red, and even rosé). It is extremely complex and will enhance the texture and flavours of the John Dory. Look for Old Reserva level, which should be served at 10-12°C.
Xavier Rousset, co-owner, Texture and 2850, London