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Grilled or Roasted Monkfish with Black Olive Sauce and Lemon Mash

Updated February 23, 2016
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Monkfish is a lovely meaty fish to cook. However, it does contain a lot of milky juices. This can sometimes be a pain because they tend to come out during cooking, so instead of roasting, grilling or frying, you end up almost boiling the fish in its own juices. So what I tend to do to stop this is season the fish with salt about an hour before cooking. This draws out any excess moisture – then I just pat it dry and get cooking. If you want to grill your monkfish, ask your fishmonger to butterfly the fillets for you.

Matt’s wine suggestion: French white – Sancerre

Serves4

Cooking Methodroasting

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timeunder 2 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Equipmentgrill pan, mortar and pestle

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecreamy, herby, meaty, savory, sharp, tangy

Ingredients

  • Sea salt
  • Zest of 2 lemons, plus a little juice
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • 4 x 200g/7oz monkfish fillets
  • Olive oil
  • 2 bunches of rocket, washed and drained
  • 2 large handfuls of good black olives, stoned and very roughly chopped
  • ½ a fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • A small handful of fresh herbs (basil, marjoram and parsley), finely chopped
  • 1 celery heart, yellow leaves chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A couple of glugs of extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1kg/2lb 3oz floury potatoes
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Milk
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

In a pestle and mortar or Flavour Shaker, smash up 1 level tablespoon of salt with the lemon zest and rosemary and rub this all over the fish fillets. Put the fillets in a dish in the fridge and let them sit there for an hour.

Now make your black olive sauce by mixing all the ingredients except the vinegar together. You want the sauce to have the consistency of a coarse salsa. Then carefully balance the flavours with the vinegar to taste.

If you’re roasting your monkfish, preheat your oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7 just before the fish comes out of the fridge. Pat the fish dry with some kitchen paper, wiping off the excess salt and then pat it with a little olive oil.

Peel and halve your potatoes. Put them into a pot of salted, boiling water and cook until tender. Then drain and mash up with 6 tablespoons of olive oil and a good swig of milk. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. If you want to get your mash really smooth and creamy you can use a spatula to push the potato through a sieve once or twice. It doesn’t make it taste any better but it will make it silky smooth, shiny and lovely. Just depends if you can be bothered, really. If it needs thinning with a little extra milk, feel free.

To roast the monkfish, heat a large ovenproof frying pan, add a splash of olive oil and fry the fillets in the pan for 2 minutes. Then turn them over and put the pan in your preheated oven for 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

To grill, place the the butterflied fillets on a hot griddle pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Whichever way you cook it serve the fish and the juices with a good dollop of the mashed potato, the black olive sauce and a little rocket dressed with the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Really, really good.

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