Neil Perry's barbecued John Dory with pistachios, preserved lemon and caper salsa

Neil Perry
Barbecued fish with a loose and nutty salsa.
Barbecued fish with a loose and nutty salsa. Photo: William Meppem

The salsa is the star of this dish, and it goes just as well with fish or chicken. It's inspired by a dish I enjoyed at a San Francisco restaurant, A16, several years ago – they roasted halibut with a crust of these flavours, which I have simplified to a loose salsa. You could also experiment by chopping some almonds or olives and mixing them through the sauce.


1 cup unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted

1 tbsp salted capers, soaked and drained

½ preserved lemon, pith and flesh removed, washed and finely chopped

½ tsp mild dried chilli flakes

120ml extra virgin olive oil

juice of a fresh lemon

freshly ground black pepper

½ bunch of coriander leaves, picked, washed and dried

sea salt

4 x 180g John Dory fillets, skin on

1 fresh lemon, cut into wedges


1. Chop the toasted pistachios with a sharp knife and put into a small bowl, then add chopped capers, preserved lemon and chilli flakes.

2. Stir through the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and a good grind of black pepper. Fold through the coriander leaves and check the seasoning. With all the salty elements you shouldn't need any more, but if you feel it needs it, add a pinch of sea salt.

3. About 30 minutes before serving, remove the fish from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

4. Preheat the barbecue to hot, making sure the bars are clean. Brush the fillets with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

5. Place the fish on the grill with the skin side down and cook for 3 minutes. Carefully turn over and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, making sure not to overcook.

6. Place the fish on large plates and spoon a generous amount of the salsa over each piece. Serve with a lemon wedge and green salad. Boiled potatoes are also a great addition to this dish.