Everyone Loves John Dory — The Fish, not the man.

Everyone Loves John Dory — The Fish, not the man.

You’d never know it by looking at this frightful looking fish, but the John Dory fish is an appetizing delicacy fit for a king. Those among us that are privy to the flavor and texture of the John Dory are the enlightened among us, as this delicious fish aims to fool the uninitiated.

Do not be fooled. The fact that it has a face only a mother could love, and threatening spikes is besides the point. This fish has a longstanding culinary history to enjoy, with a layer of mythology on top.

John Dory Fish Facts

If legends are to be believed, over 2000 years ago St. Peter dropped a coin into the Sea of Galilee, and a fish caught the coin. To retrieve the coin, St. Peter simply picked up the fish and took the coin back, leaving his fingerprints upon the skin of the fish where he picked it up. The John Dory, with two black spots on either side, still has those spots today! That is why this culinary delight has the nickname of “St. Peter’s fish”.

The John Dory, or St. Pierre, has many names but not everyone knows where the name “John Dory” actually comes from. There is much speculation, but the most common story is that the name seems to rise from an corruption of its French nickname ‘jaune doré’ which means “golden yellow”.

Many others contend that the name comes from the Spanish nickname “janitore,” derived from St. Peter being the “janitor of heaven”, keeping in line with it’s holy origins.

John Dory vs Tilapia

There are some rumors that John Dory and Tilapia are the same fish, but they certainly have remarkable differences in spite of any of their similarities.

They’re both white fish with low yield percentages, which is about the only two things you’ll find in common with them. The John Dory is an expensive fish with a low yield of around 35%, with sharp spines that need to be trimmed prior to fabrication. Tilapia is a cheap fish with a 35% yield.

Upon tasting them, you’ll first notice their texture. John Dory has a unique, almost nutty flavor and beautiful, firm texture you won’t get from tilapia!  

Have you heard any other misconceptions about this fish? We’d love to hear them on our social media channels, or below, in the comments!