There’s nothing quite like cooking with wild mushrooms. Distinct, if not exactly delicate, when gently fried alongside some garlic, butter and fragrant herbs, there are few nostalgic kitchen aromas that can rival it.

But when added to the classic Italian dish of saltimbocca, which usually comprises veal or chicken wrapped in slices of sage-lined prosciutto, the effect of all the textures and flavours coming together reveals the iconic autumn ingredient to be one that is adaptable, with a seamless ability to enhance. For this recipe, Mercaldi has simply swapped the meat for fresh, firm John Dory and added a few cooked chestnuts to make the most of the season’s fresh offerings. It’s comfort food at its finest.


4 175g fillets of John Dory, skin on
4 thin slices of prosciutto
1 bunch sage leaves
50ml olive oil
100g unsalted butter
400g mixed wild mushrooms, including pine mushrooms and slippery jacks, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces
1 clove peeled garlic, thinly shaved
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped sage
2 tbsp baby capers
precooked chestnuts in chicken stock or seasoned water
100g of black seedless grapes cut in half lengthways


  1. Individually lay out your prosciutto and place a sage leaf on top of each slice.
  2. Now place your fish fillets skin side down on top in the centre.
  3. Bring each end of the prosciutto together to wrap the fish fillet.
  4. Repeat this process with the other fillets.
  5. Heat a wide, shallow, non-stick frying pan with some olive oil.
  6. Lightly season the fish and once the oil is hot, place the fish in the pan skin side down.
  7. Cook skin side down for 2 minutes until golden and crisp, turn over for 30 seconds and then remove from the pan.
  8. Now add the wild mushrooms, garlic and sage, and then cook together for 30 seconds, season, then add extra sage and butter.
  9. Add the cooked chestnuts to the pan and as the heat of the pan caramelises the butter and it begins to brown, add the capers and grapes and finally the lemon juice.
  10. Arrange your warm, cooked fish fillets crispy side up on a serving plate then generously spoon the wild mushrooms and chestnuts with the sage brown butter dressing all over and around the fish.
  11. Serve with a crisp, bitter leaf salad, such as radicchio and shaved fennel. Enjoy!