January was a month for trying to eat a little healthier and lighter. Less meat, some fish and more veggies and pulses. This didn’t mean boring meals though and we finished off the month with a little luxury, treating ourselves to some monkfish. It is an expensive fish compared to others, but a little goes quite a long way and portions of about 150g per person (even us who are greedy guts!) is about fine. Especially if you add a handful of prawns or mussels and serve with rice or potatoes and the last of your summer runner beans from the freezer.
Ingredients (to serve 4)
- 4 fillets or steaks of monkfish
- About 200g fresh mussels, cleaned
- About 400ml of homemade tomato sauce or make up a simple sauce by sautéing one finely chopped onion in a little olive oil until transparent, then add 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic. Fry gently for a few minutes then add a tin of chopped tomatoes, 2 tbsp tomato purée, a good slosh of red wine, seasoning and a sprig of basil. Cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, removing the basil before using.
- Some seasoned plain flour for dusting the fish
- The grated zest of an unwaxed lemon
- Some finely chopped flat leaf parsley and lemon wedges to serve
Start by coating the fish in seasoned flour and shallow fry on both sides until lightly browned. Remove from the pan to a plate and cover with foil.
Warm the tomato sauce and add the lemon zest and fish to it, cooking gently for about 2 or 3 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over, add the mussels to the pan and cover with a lid. Cook for a further couple of minutes by which time the fish will be cooked through and the mussels will have opened. Discard any which refuse to open, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with the lemon wedges.
We enjoyed a lovely bottle of sauvignon blanc bought on our recent jaunt to Le Touquet..a perfect end to the month!
If you enjoy monkfish, you might like this beautiful, delicate, monkfish curry.
Monkfish is an “oh so ugly but oh so good” fish. If you’ve ever seen it at the fishmonger before it’s been prepared it’s the one with the enormous gargoyle mouth and scary teeth and a body that looks a bit out of proportion with the head. It can also be an expensive fish, but like other luxuries such as fillet steak, you don’t need much.
My lovely Bexhill fishmonger had some beautiful monkfish recently and I bought a tail. From this I made two separate meals for two people, so I really managed to make the most of it!
First up is a curry recipe I came across which I think is now going to be my “go to” curry recipe. It was so easy, it didn’t have a huge long list of ingredients and the flavour was amazing. If, like me, you’re a curry fan (and if you’re not, perhaps I can convert you – this one is about balancing delicate flavours rather than smacking you around the chops with burning hot chilli), do give this a try!
- About 250g monkfish cut into bite size pieces and about 10 raw, peeled langoustines or large prawns
- The juice of two limes
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tablespoon turmeric
- 3 Tablespoons ghee or clarified butter (or use a light vegetable oil)
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic smashed into a fine paste
- 2 inch piece of ginger smashed into a fine paste
- 1 chilli pepper finely chopped
- 1 chilli pepper halved
- 1 Tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 Tablespoon coriander powder
- 12 cherry tomatoes – halved
- 1 small bunch fresh coriander – finely chopped
- 400ml coconut milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place the cubed monkfish and peeled prawns into a bowl with the lime juice, salt and turmeric. Allow to marinade for about 30 minutes.
In a large pan or wok, melt the fat or heat the oil. Add the chopped onions and fry until translucent and lightly browned. Now add the garlic and ginger pastes along with the chopped chilli pepper and fry for a couple of minutes.
Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a bubble then add the cumin and coriander powder and stir to combine then add the halved chilli. Finally, add the marinated monkfish, prawns and the tomatoes. Stir it all into the mixture. Allow the monkfish to cook gently in the sauce for about 5 minutes. Taste and season if necessary and sprinkle over the chopped coriander to serve. Perfect with plain boiled rice and/or naan bread.