The John Dory fish is noted in Jules Verne’s An Antarctic Mystery, published in 1897:
Among the denizens of the deep, captured by the crew of the schooner with line and net, I noted more particularly a sort of giant John Dory (dorade) three feet in length, with firm and savoury flesh…The legendary etymology of the piscatorial designation is Janitore, the “door-keeper,” in allusion to St. Peter, who brought a fish, said to be of that species, to our Lord at His command.
Description and Biology
- John Dory reaches 2 feet in length, and about 7 pounds in weight.
- It has sharp, small scales, with a silver belly and a color that ranges from olive gray green to a yellowish color.
- The body is flat and thin, with a round to slightly oval shape. The eyes are near the top of its head.
- It has a large circular dark spot on the side meant to scare predators.
- John Dory feed on other fish.
Range and Habitat
- John Dory ranges from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean, New Zealand, and Australia. It is a managed fish species in New Zealand.
- It is found in coastal areas, living at or near the seabed.
- John Dory is usually solitary.
- The fish is very flavorful with a sweet flavor.
- It has a low oil content with a medium flake texture, making poaching, baking, or sauteing good cooking methods. Just take care to not overcook.
- The flesh is translucent, but turns white when it is cooked.
- John Dory can be purchased whole or as fillets with skin on or off.
Image of John Dory, courtesy NOAA Photo Library.