04 Sep2005

A classic Parisian bistro dish is sole meuniere or a fillet of Atlantic sole pan-fried with butter abeurre1and sprinkled with lemon juice. It is flaky white fish meat with a delicious mixture of melted (and sometimes burned) butter and tart lemon juice. I sometimes do a Filipino version of this dish with fresh dapa or flatfish fillets and it also works superbly with a fillet of cream dory. The cream dory is imported frozen and I am not really certain what the scientific name of this fish is but suffice it to say it is a pretty close tasting equivalent for western white fish fillets. It is also reasonably priced when compared to ordering the dish in a restaurant. A large fillet might run you PHP150 or so. Here is a really easy recipe. Make sure your fish fillet is thawed (if using frozen) and the skin surface is dry (use a paper towel to dab the fish). Just before cooking, dredge the fish fillet in a mixture of flour with some sea salt and cracked black pepper. Remove excess flour. In a large pan with room for all your fillets heat up some olive oil and a generous chunk of butter…

Once brown, fry the fish fillets for just a minute or so on each side until just cooked. abeurre2Do not overcook. Remove the fish fillets and place on a serving platter or on individual plates. Return pan to the heat and add the juice of 1-2 lemons and another large chunk of butter. As soon as the butter has melted, pour this over the fish fillets. You can serve this with some peeled small new potatoes that have been boiled until just cooked. If you want some color, sprinkle some finely chopped Italian parsley. I like to take the boiled potatoes and coat them in the remaining fat/oil in the fish pan and sprinkle them with salt and pepper before adding them to the fish. Serve this with a steamed vegetable side dish such as asparagus or with a green salad and you have a really easy, quick and delicious meal. Do not be concerned if the sauce seems to have black bits…it’s just the butter/flour that has burned (on purpose).



  1. joey says:

    Thanks for sharing another simple and delicious fish recipe! I also tried the one you posted with swordfish and capers…so good that I use that sauce for other fish dishes…

    This looks like another winner :-)

    Sep 5, 2005 | 12:51 am


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  3. acidboy says:

    market, good recipe! also bought some frozen cream dories and wondered what these are, anyway we made fish and chips with these fillets, which was also quite tasty and flaky. a generous sprinkling of good balsamic vinegar over the fish makes it doubly good.

    Sep 5, 2005 | 2:31 pm

  4. bayi says:

    I love dory fish and this is yet another recipe I must try. This looks really delicious. Slurp…

    Sep 5, 2005 | 11:31 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    I always get so few comments on fish. Don’t people like fish? It is so good tasting and so good for you. And we live on an archipelago and our ancestors probably relied on sea-based protein for centuries… eat more fish!

    Sep 6, 2005 | 5:34 pm

  6. Mila says:

    We have great fishes all over the country, so much that is tasty if fresh. Makes me wonder why our frozen fish section seems to be growing; the cuts are so like the US without heads and fins and anything remotely like a fish.

    I remember watching an episode of Good Eats that used this same recipe of Lemon Dover Sole. Add a few capers and dill and you have a perfect fish dish. Simple, and good for you!

    Sep 7, 2005 | 3:15 pm

  7. Johan says:

    Well Cream Dory or Pacific dory, is a farmed fresh water fish of Pangasius family, usualy under the name of Basa or Tra in Vietnamese. Quick growing fish and consumed in large quantity in Vietnam where they are farmed in Mekong delta and exported large quantity to the world market. Yes, it gained recognition as a substitute to white meat fillets from the Western based fishery. In fact it was successfull that in the US market, and is perceived as a threat to the survival of the American catfish industry.

    In Southeast Asia , pangasius fish is common fresh water fish, but the success of Vietnamese Basa and Tra somehow give this fish a new level of recognition.

    The success of Pangasius also being followed by now the so called : Marukoban Aji , snub nose dart. It is a marine fish that are being farmed successfully and touted to replace Shima aji in sashimi market. Aquaculturist even claimed the farmed Markukoban / snub Nose dart ( trachinotus blochii ) is different species from the wild snub nose dart, which I find this claim is absurbly nonsense. Since theya are the same fish, that does not mean one is being farmed turning into another specie, it is not a logical claim.

    Though meat quality may differ between farm and wild, that is a subject of relative matter for consumers,but hardly justify to separate the snubnose dart into different specie.

    I hope the information is helpfull

    Jul 26, 2007 | 11:14 am

  8. Marketman says:

    Johan, thank you so much for that information. Someone did tell me the fish was grown in Vietnam, but I couldn’t pinpoint what it was, exactly… again, thanks!

    Jul 26, 2007 | 1:17 pm

  9. john says:

    Cream Dory Taste really creamy…”Italianis” Used it in their “Parmesan Crusted Fish Fillet”,”Corsican Steam Fish Fillet”, and other fish dish they have. If we consume this fish regularly, does it contain too much harmful metal called mercury?

    Oct 14, 2007 | 7:15 pm

  10. Sarah Kirsh says:

    Thanks JOHAN

    Apr 21, 2008 | 11:19 am

  11. Donald G. H Tan says:

    Hi all,

    Very sad to say that we have been taken for a ride all the while.
    Over here in Malaysia, the River Catfish of Vietnam, called Pangasius h. is being sold as the prized Dory fish which is from Austarlian/New Zealand. There are many confusion right now because of the lack of enforcement, importers of the River Catfish (frozen/filleted)are cheating us. Not only that, high end restaurants have added to their menus stating Dory or Australian Dory on the menu BUT serving those cheaper alternative by using those found in our Supermarkets.
    It is not that we would like to make a big fuss over this but if it is not Dory fish they are selling, then tell us so. What is so wrong to label it honestly as Pangasius or Sutchi fish and not advertising is as Dory/John Dory/Pacific Cream Dory?
    Was at one of the leading supermarket last week and witnessed that they are selling FRESH Dory fillet at RM32.00 per Kg. (The frozen one sells for RM9.oo/kg) When enquired, the staff told me that the fresh ones also come from Vietnam!!!!
    Till today none of the Government agencies are looking into this problem. The Singapore’s AVA issued a stern warning to supermarkets NOT to market the Pangasius/Sutchi as DORY! It would be amounting to cheating!
    Please visit my blogsite for this issue at:-http//donaldghtan.blogspot.com

    Thank you

    Cheers and Regards
    Birds Talking

    Jun 11, 2008 | 11:00 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    Donald, actually, in Manila, all dealers I have spoken to have mentioned Vietnam as the source of their Cream Dory, not Australia. So the problem may be one unique to Malaysian fish mongers perhaps? Cream Dory is very cheaply priced in Manila, particularly the frozen pieces.

    Jun 12, 2008 | 6:00 am

  13. Johan says:

    Dear Donald

    Yeah, we experienced the same as in Malaysia, but heck it did not work for them either. The Seller is doing better business not in labelling but in pricing. Now people got confused with cream Dory for the true Zeus Faber or John Dory. But it stuck in people mind, so anybody bringing in the true Dory ended up belly up could not selling the fish, so they have to label them something else.

    Somebody mentioned about mercury , thats I do not know really. But the problem of farmed fish is not mercury but antibiotics or growth inducing hormones for colour enhancement.But I am no expert , kindly check with the experts.

    In regard to mercury , I am aware of the FDA warnings and stuff. But sometime the issue of mercury is true at certain point, but sometime it is being aired by green enviromentalist who love the sea and disdain the creature within from being exploited.
    Beside , mercury is restricted mostly (sometime deep water too) to big and long living pelagics such as tuna , billfish and shark. But again think about it , as long as you are not swallowing a “whole” of tuna , shark and bilffish, you are within a safe limit. Even you eat 250 grams of them every week, you are still far from the danger of mercury, but then again discern yourself.

    Jul 3, 2008 | 12:56 am

  14. Winston says:

    Hi, the cream dory being sold here indeed comes from Vietnam and is declared as such. The fish is now being farmed and raised in the Philippines. I am one of those involved in the project and our goal is for the fish to be sold in our wetmarkets soon. It is currently sold for Php 80.00 a kg whole in some wet markets. We hope that more recipes for pangasius can be developed so that more Filipinos can enjoy such good tasting fish that is cheaper compared other locally grown and caught fish.

    The fish has no mercury content. I have personally seen the feeding method and the pond/cage environment that the fish is grown in. This is Vietnam’s no. 1 export to Europe and it is know that the EU has the highest standards especially when it comes to seafood exports into their countries.

    If you want more information on fish, some recipes (it is quite good grilled and stuffed with onions, lemon grass, tomatoes etc. – like grilled bangus / it is also nice caramelized – cooked in sugar, vinegar, onions), supply of fillet, whole fish and fingerling for farming, please let me know at 0922-8063247.

    Jul 8, 2008 | 8:36 am

  15. jovie uy says:

    hi winston,

    My name is jovie from cebu, I’m interested in purchasing pangasius fish, for cebu can you give me contacts to some suppliers? I have tried this fish and it is quite meaty but the taste is rather bland, give me sea fish any day. Too bad prices of our sea fish are sooo high.

    I hope that i get some feedback. thanks


    Aug 24, 2008 | 5:03 pm

  16. jill says:

    i tried this recipe today, but i added fresh chopped basil leaves..just to add a bit of green to the recipe. thanks for sharing this recipe. more power

    Aug 27, 2008 | 7:31 pm

  17. Rodaina says:


    will u please tell me more detail about cream dory fish??

    what is covering its body?? cuz some of the fish peels & others with Gill slits…what about ream dory

    thanx 4 the information mentioned above

    Sep 4, 2008 | 12:50 am

  18. Rodaina says:

    mmmm….still wating 4 the answer

    Sep 6, 2008 | 5:19 am

  19. lina b david says:

    got this in my email: I have been buying cream dory here in the Phil but now I am hesitant to do so


    Oct 9, 2008 | 9:46 am

  20. Dan says:

    To Miss Lina David,

    That’s only a scaremongering site (and believe me, there are lots of them around) against the Pangasius. Me and my family have been eating this fish for years now, and have not had one single incident of anybody getting ill.

    Nov 28, 2008 | 1:30 pm

  21. farrah says:

    hi marketman,

    can you kindly share some info on how to grill a cream dory fish? the whole gutted dory from the Cold Storage is now being thawed out for dinner tonight but im suddenly confused as to how it should be cooked, with skin on or without? please help. thanks!

    Jan 2, 2009 | 4:49 pm

  22. rodle says:

    Cream dory, john dory or pangasius has been in the commercial market years ago. The one you buy as fish fillet burger or common fish and chips are some. In the US, there comes a time that their market were flooded withdory and opt their own catfish industry to dosome advertisement guerilla tactics. It may it may not be true. Remember what they did to our coco oilreputation back in he 70’s or 80’s just to save their soya oil industry, now with they are inspired with our virgin coco oil. My wife and her company is currently engaged in farming of pangasus. Thats why i’m confident that it is safe. I know what they eat and the water they are culured. However it is not as white as the vietnamese product because of water factor and no chemical bleaching. I’d been cooking it for my family indifferent dishes.

    Mar 1, 2009 | 9:22 pm

  23. rodle says:

    Ms. farrah,

    I dont know if my response will be so late, however for those who just happen to drop by this website as did I, You could cook it with or without skin depending on what dish you are preparing. For grill, fry and bake, dory with skin will do.

    Mar 1, 2009 | 9:27 pm

  24. Happy Tummy says:

    hi MM! it’s just now that i got the chance to drop you a line! it’s my second time to cook this! thanks! i took a photo of it and also added your link and your url in my list of favorites! hope it’s ok! :-) belated happy father’s day! more power! http://thehappytummykitchen.blogspot.com/2009/06/daddy-day-hurray.html

    Jun 25, 2009 | 2:34 am

  25. Cathy says:

    I tried this recipe just minutes ago for dinner and i must say..its really good. Yummy :) Thanks for sharing.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 6:40 pm

  26. Mariel says:

    Cream Dory is in the same genus as bottom-feeding catfish, it should be sold cheaply

    Jul 24, 2009 | 11:46 pm

  27. Leiah says:

    will try this recipe soon, i like the taste of lemon on my fish. the only recipe i know how to make with dory is breaded fish strips. what i do is cut it into strips (about the size of a chunky finger), sprinkle some garlic salt & pepper. then i shake it in a plastic with cornstarch, dip it in beaten egg, then roll it in japanese breadcrumbs… then golden fry it in slow-fire. i just make a dipping sauce made of mayo, lil mustard, pepper, salt & sugar.

    Jul 27, 2009 | 1:37 pm

  28. tess says:

    Actually, pangasius fish is now being organically grown here in the Philippines. I just came from the pangasius fish farm yesterday (21 Sept). The fresh pangasius tastes much much better than those frozen ones in the market. We cooked it adobo and steak style. I am actually looking for recipes and found this website. I’ve got to try your recipe, seems good.


    Sep 22, 2009 | 3:34 pm


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