Happy New Year everybody and welcome back to our continuing series on Classic Rock recipes.  I thought since yesterday was David Bowie’s birthday and this week also marks the 2nd anniversary of his unfortunate passing that we kick things off in 2018 with a tribute to the superstar and pioneer of Glam Rock N Roll.  Bowie was a complicated artist, and this is a rather involved classic dish that go hand in hand together.

It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since we got the shocking news David has left us.  But what a legacy he gave us.  I was on the ground floor standing about 25 feet from the stage at his 50th birthday party concert event at Madison Square Garden and that was unfortunately the only time I ever got to see him perform live.  What a great show and what an all-star lineup of guest appearances too.  I’m thrilled to use the album, Hunky Dory, as our pun this week as it’s always been my favorite Bowie album.  Some of his best work is on this album especially Quicksand which is probably my favorite tune of his.  I’m also elated we get to explore one the great dishes of Provence this week.

Bouillabaisse, which is fish soup with Provencal herbs and traditions, never sounds appealing when you learn what the term really means.  That is until you try it and realize how great it really is.  John Dory is a Mediterranean fish that is often used in this dish.  It can be hard to locate in most parts of the United States even in the best restaurants.  If you can’t find it or Turbot which are at the top of the food chain in my opinion when it comes to white fish fillets you can also use Halibut.  All three are similar in that they are flat fish with big meaty, delicious flesh and perfect for seafood served in broth.  This recipe begins with creating that broth for the dish and then accompanying it with John Dory and other seafood.  Trust me it’s not that difficult but it is time consuming and you will see why it’s such a popular dish in the best French restaurants.





For the Seafood Stock:  You may use store bought Seafood Stock if you wish to save time)


3 TBSP Olive Oil

½ cup finely chopped Yellow Onion

1/3 cup Carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped Celery ribs

Salt, to taste

Ground Black Pepper, to taste

2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 TBSP Tomato Paste

Shells from 1 lb. of Shrimp

Shells from 2 Lobsters (tails and claws only)

5-6 quarts Water

2 Bay Leaves

6 sprigs fresh Thyme leaves

1 Lemon cut in half with juice and pits removed

Small bunch Italian Parsley stems (optional)



  1. In a large 8-quart stock pot heat the Olive Oil over medium heat
  2. Add the Onion, Carrot, and Celery and sauté for 5 minutes. Season with a little Salt and Pepper.
  3. Add the Garlic and sauté 1 minute longer
  4. Create a hold in the center of the pot and add the Tomato Paste. Allow Tomato Paste to sizzle for 15 seconds and then stir in with the vegetables and oil.  Cook 1 minute longer.
  5. Add the Shrimp and Lobster shells and combine. Cook 1 minute longer.
  6. Add the Water and increase the temperature to high. Add the Bay Leaves, Thyme, Lemon halves, Salt, Pepper, and Parsley if using.
  7. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 2 to 2 ½ hours.
  8. Remove Lobster shells and Bay Leaves. Pass Liquid through a strainer.  Press down on the vegetables and Shrimp shells to release as much liquid as possible.  Reserve liquid.  You should have about 3 quarts of Seafood Stock.


For the Broth:


1/3 cup Olive Oil

½ medium Yellow Onion, peeled and chopped

1 medium Fennel bulb, chopped (Fennel Fronds reserved and finely chopped)

2 Garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

3 Plum Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped

½ cup White Wine

6 cups Seafood Stock

½ TSP Saffron threads

1 TSP fresh Thyme leaves finely chopped

1 TSP fresh Chervil or Marjoram leaves

Salt, to taste

Ground Black Pepper, to taste



  1. In a 4-qt. pot heat the Olive Oil over medium low
  2. Add the Onion and Fennel and sauté for 8 minutes
  3. Add the Garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes
  4. Add the Tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes more
  5. Add the Wine and increase the heat to medium. Cook for 3 minutes longer.
  6. Add the Stock and raise heat to medium high. Bring to a simmer and lower heat to maintain gentle simmer.
  7. Add the Saffron and gently stir. Add the Fennel Fronds, Thyme, Chervil, Salt, and Pepper and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.  Follow the instructions for adding the Seafood and Potatoes next.


For the Seafood and Potatoes:


1 ½ lbs. John Dory filets cut into large chunks

4 oz. cooked Lobster meat

½ lb. live Mussels, scrubbed and debearded

24 Littleneck or Manila Clams, scrubbed

¾ lb. Dutch Baby Gold Potatoes, parboiled for 5 minutes and peeled

Salt, to taste

Ground Black Pepper, to taste

2 TBSP Italian Parsley, chopped



  1. While the Broth simmers add the John Dory fillets to the pot. Increase the heat to maintain a simmer if necessary.  Cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the Lobster, Mussels, and Clams and increase heat to a lively simmer. Simmer until Mussels and Clams open.  About 5 Minutes.
  3. Add the Potatoes and turn off the heat. Season with Salt and Pepper.  Allow to cool for a few minutes and garnish with the Parsley.
  4. Serve into large, shallow bowls with French Baguette slices to soak up the broth if desired


Serves 4 to 6 people


WINE PAIRING:  Since this a classic Provencal dish I highly encourage a White Wine from the region.  Roussanne or Marsanne or a blend of both is the choice of grape.  A White Bordeaux would be an acceptable alternative but stay within the southern regions of France for this wonderful recipe.

Author: Steve Melchior

I am a lover of many eclectic things; food, wine, art, music, travel, sports, movies, literature and of course The Grateful Dead. I combine all these interests into great ideas for food preparation and entertaining with friends and family.

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