Thelonious Monkfish

I hope you’re impressed that I used the name of a jazz musician in a crude food based pun. How funny of me. In any case, what I want to say is that five years ago, I ate a dream of a meal in France; firm but moist monkfish in cream sauce with bacon, and ever since then, being the lame obsessive that I am, I have wanted to recreate it.

So to John Lewis Food Hall I went, as I was nearby, and I got a 400 gram monkfish fillet, some horrendously expensive Duchy Estate bacon (it was there, ok!), and, just because I saw them and had an urge to make Hollandaise, I bought some globe artichokes. ImageThese were prepared as above; (trimmed etc, very middle class). And they were steamed/boiled in an inch of water for 30 minutes until tender. The hollandaise was a simple affair: 3 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, heated until just thickening, and then 120grams chopped butter whisked in. Hollandaise is actually a simple thing to make, just a careful eye needs to remain on it. So, a simple starter, and nothing needs to be more complicated than a family having hollandaise dripping down their chins and drawing the fleshy artichokes through their mouths. Fantastic.

Image ImageSo moving on to recreating that meal from five years ago.

I rubbed the monkfish in garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and olive oil, left it to relax for a bit and then just fried it in butter. It does take a long time (10-15minutes) so keep the heat medium, and no higher. You want it firm but white the whole way through. So, keep turning in the pan, and as you are doing it grill some Duchy ultra organic ultra expensive bacon (streaky smoked is best- the smoky notes just echo through the monkfish so well and it is, fairly magical.

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ImageSo, fish rests for a few minutes; and then we slice it up, and prepare the vinaigrette to serve with it. Olive oil, chilli, salt and pepper, soy sauce, lemon juice, mustard, and whisk. This is poured on top, and adds bite to the dish.

ImageThe dish is served with creamy mash potato, and some rocket. The dressing makes up for a sauce, and adds a freshness and kick to the dish, that would be missed without it. I think this dish does justice to the one I had all those years ago, and monkfish is an expensive, but fantastically rich and dense fish, with character. I hope these pictures show part of the dish at least! Enjoy!Image

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