This recipe from renowned Melbourne chef Philippe Mouchel is an ode to his home of Normandy, featuring a medley of seafood, the best butter and cream, and apple cider, which Philippe describes as "Normandy champagne". Philippe starts by making a fumet (a concentrated fish stock) using the bones of the fish. If you can’t find cider from Normandy, opt for another deep-coloured dry cider, or alternatively use a dry white wine.






Skill level

Average: 3.9 (22 votes)



  • 50 g butter
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely sliced
  • bones from 2 John Dory (or similar white fish), cut into large pieces
  • 250 ml dry cider or dry white wine
  • bouquet garni of 2 parsley stalks, 1 bay leaf and 1 thyme sprig (tied together with string)


  • 4 large raw prawns 
  • 70 g butter, plus extra for the dish
  • 2 French shallots, finely diced
  • 500 g mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 100 ml dry cider or dry white wine
  • 100 g small button mushrooms, stems trimmed
  • sea salt
  • lemon juice
  • 4 John Dory fillets (or similar white fish) weighing about 160 g each, skin on
  • 10 g butter extra, for the fish
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 200 ml cream
  • 1 tbsp whipped cream
  • 4 large oysters, shucked, juices reserved
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 20 minutes

To make the fumet, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the fish bones and pour over the cider or wine, then add the bouquet garni and bring to simmering point, skimming well. Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to rest for a further 20 minutes. Strain the fumet through a fine sieve and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook the prawns for 3–4 minutes, until their shells change colour, then drain and leave to cool. Shell them, leaving their heads and tails intact, and set aside.

Melt 50 g of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add half the shallots, the mussels and the cider or wine and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the mussels open. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve and set aside. Remove the mussels from their shells and set aside.

Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan and add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of water and a splash of lemon juice. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Butter a baking dish large enough for the fish fillets to lay flat inside (or use 2 dishes). Place the fish in the dish and dot with a little more butter. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the remaining shallots and pour on the fumet. Press a sheet of baking paper over the surface of the fish and bake for about 8 minutes, or until not quite cooked through.
Turn off the oven and open the door for a few moments to let some of the heat escape. Transfer the fish fillets to a serving dish and cover with foil. Return to the oven to keep warm while you make the sauce.

Pour the cooking juices from the fish and the reserved mussel liquid into a saucepan. Bring to the boil over moderately high heat and cook until reduced by half. Add the pouring cream and reduce until lightly thickened. Add the whipped cream, shelled mussels, mushrooms and prawns to heat through. Finally, add the oysters and their juices and a little more lemon juice.

To serve, spoon the mussels, prawns, oysters, mushrooms and sauce over the fish and sprinkle with parsley.