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Posts Tagged ‘Monkfish’

Monkfish & saffron pilaf

The traditional fish used for this dish from Central Asia is sturgeon, which we don’t see so often in Dublin, so we substituted monkfish to very good effect. Don’t be shy with the pepper as this really informs the character of the dish providing a warm and distinctive flavour. We were really excited by the flavours here and have made this a few times now as we enjoy it a lot.

Wine Suggestion: Black pepper has it’s own umami-rich tannins which for some people means that it won’t work with wine very well. What you need to do, though, is work with this and use either a red with appropriate tannins or spices, or a white with pepper characteristics too. We chose a rich, dry F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Loibner Loibenberg which we picked up from our friend Gerard Maguire in Glasthule. A stunning wine that stood up magnificently to the bold pepper flavours; a lighter wine would have felt short and inadequate.

Fish & Saffron Pilaf – serves 4

  • 275g basmati rice
  • 4 onions (1 halved and 3 thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a small bunch of flatleaf parsley
  • 4 sturgeon, monkfish or halibut fillets
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • a small handful of dill
  • 1 tsp dill seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • large pinch of saffron strands, soaked in 3 tbsp water
  • 120g sour cream
  • juice of 1 lemon

Put the rice into a large bowl, cover with water and leave to soak.

Bring 1 litre of water to the boil in a large pan and add the halved onion, crushed peppercorns, bay leaf and parsley stalks (keep the leaves aside for now). Season the water well with salt and gently lower in the fish fillets. Cook at a very gentle simmer until just opaque, about 10 minutes depending on how thick your fillets are. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve. Set the pan aside for using again later.

Heat a second large cooking pot for cooking the rice. Heat the sesame oil until almost smoking, then add the onions and carrots. Stir-fry until starting to soften. Drain the rice and add to the pot, smoothing it down with the back of a spoon. Pour over the fish broth until it covers the rice by about 1cm and add plenty of salt. Bring to the boil and cook on a high heat until the broth has boiled off. Poke a few steam holes in the rice with the end of a spoon to help it along. Cover with a lid or tight-fitting layer of foil and remove from the heat. Leave to steam for 20 minutes by which time the rice will be cooked through.

Chop the parsley and dill and add to the empty fish pan. Add the dill seeds (if using), ground black pepper, saffron and its soaking liquid and season with salt. Stir in the soured cream and set over a low heat to warm through. Carefully return the fish fillets to the pan to warm through before serving.

Turn the rice out onto a large platter and squeeze over the lemon. Spoon the fish and creamy sauce over the top.

(Original recipe from Samarkand by Caroline Eden & Eleanor Ford, Kyle Books, 2016.)

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Paella de rape con azafran

This is a great weekend dish that is relatively easy to make and looks amazing when brought to the table with all its fabulous colours. The key to a good paella is not to stir it. Shake the pan occasionally to prevent sticking.

Wine Suggestion: We started with a glass of dry Hidalgo Napoleon Amontillado sherry followed by an old, but wonderfully youthful and fresh, Dehesa la Granja 14 1998 a Tempranillo from close to the Portuguese border in Castilla. The 14 refers to the minimum amount of time it is held by Alejandro Fernandez in his underground caverns on this property before release. At 18 years old it was delicious proof of the ageworthiness of this unique estate and its elegance and refined fruit didn’t overwhelm the monkfish.

Monkfish rice with saffron (Paella de rape con azafrán) – serves 4 as a main or 6 as a starter

  • 7 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g monkfish fillets, trimmed and cut into bit-size pieces
  • 2 large Spanish onions, finely chopped
  • 2 green peppers, halved, seeded and finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 800ml hot fish stock (buy it fresh at your fishmongers)
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 250g calasparra (paella) rice
  • 80ml white wine or fino sherry
  • 1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 225g piquillo peppers, torn into strips (we buy the brand Navarrico)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a 30-40cm paella pan or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the monkfish and toss gently to fry until slightly undercooked in the centre. Remove the monkfish and any juices to a bowl and set aside.

Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper and put back onto the heat. Add the rest of the olives oil and heat until hot, then add the onions and peppers, and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn the heat to medium, add the garlic and the fennel seeds, and cook for 10 minutes or until coloured and sweet. Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil in a separate saucepan. Add the saffron, then take off the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Add the rice to the paella pan and stir for a minute to coat with the oil and vegetables. (You can prepare the dish up to this point before your guests arrive. The recipe will take about 20 minutes to finish.)

Put the heat to medium-high and add the wine/sherry to the pan, followed by the hot stock. Add half the parsley and the paprika and season generously with salt and pepper. Do not stir the rice after this point. Simmer for 10 minutes or until there is just a little liquid above the rice. Spread the monkfish and its juices out across the top of the rice and gently push each piece of fish into the liquid. Gently shake the pan to prevent sticking and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes or until there is just a little liquid left at the bottom of the rice. Turn the heat off and cover the dish tightly with foil. Leave to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Decorate with strips of piquillo peppers, the rest of the parsley and the lemon. Serve with a salad if you like.

(Original recipe from Moro: The Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

Paella de rape con azafran

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This is a Basque inspired dish where fresh fish is cooked really simply over hot coals. Firm fish like Monkfish, or Grouper, will not fall apart as easily so make them perfect for barbecuing. Serve with a green salad and some bread.

Barbecue Monkfish Kebabs – to serve 4

  • 1 kg monkfish fillets, cut into large chunks
  • 12 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

Light the barbecue and wait until it is really hot before you start cooking.

Thread the monkfish onto 4 metal skewers. Make a marinade using 6 tbsp of the olive oil, the lemon juice, 3 tbsp of the white wine vinegar and 1 tsp salt. Brush this lightly over the kebabs and barbecue until the fish is browned and cooked through. Keep brushing with the marinade as the fish cooks.

Put 6 tbsp olive oil, the garlic and chilli flakes into a small pan and heat over a high heat until the garlic turns golden (but don’t let it go brown as it will turn bitter). Take off the heat and stir in the parsley, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar and ½ tsp salt. Drizzle over the fish and serve.

Drink with: a chilled glass of Txakoli if you can find it. This Basque speciality is hard to find outside Spain but an Albarino from Galicia makes a more than satisfactory substitute.

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We have loved every recipe we have tried from Rick Stein’s Spain. This is a really nice rice dish from Valencia which we’ll definitely be doing again. It tastes similar to paella but requires fewer ingredients. Delicious and easy!

Arroz de rape, azafrán y pimientos – to serve 6

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 75g finely chopped shallot
  • 1 small head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp pimentón dulce (smoked sweet Spanish paprika), plus a bit extra for seasoning the fish
  • a pinch of crushed dried chillies
  • 200g vine ripened beef tomatoes, halved
  • 1 litre Fish stock
  • 1/2 tsp loosely packed saffron strands
  • 400g short-grained paella rice such as Calasperra
  • 1 large roasted red pepper or 3 jarred pimientos
  • 500g monkfish fillet, trimmed of membrane then cut across into 1 cm thick slices
  • Aioli to serve

Grate the tomatoes using a coarse grater. You will be left with the skin which you can discard. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a 28-30cm cazuela or shallow flameproof casserole, add the shallot and fry gently for 10 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add the garlic, pimentón and chillies and fry for another 2 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes and cook until they have broken down into a sauce.

Stir in the fish stock, saffron and 1 1/2 tsp of salt and bring to the boil, stirring. Sprinkle in the rice, stir once, then leave to simmer vigorously over a medium-high heat for 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the roasted red pepper or jarred pimientos into 1cm-wide strips, removing any skin and seeds. Sprinkle over the top of the rice and shake briefly so they sink in a bit. Lower the heat and leave to simmer gently for another 12 minutes. At the end the liquid should all have absorbed and the rice should have small holes on the surface.

Before the rice is ready, pat the monkfish pieces dry and season well with salt and a little pimentón. Heat 2tbsp olil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the monkfish slices in batches and fry over a high heat for 1 minute on each side until very lightly coloured and almost cooked.

Lay the fish on top of the rice, turn off the heat and cover with a lid or clean cloth. Leave to rest for 5 minutes to allow the monkfish to finish cooking through.

Serve with alioli.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Spain, BBC Books, 2011)

Wine Suggestion: The best match would be something with a the joy of youth and fruitiness like a joven (young) Tempranillo or a light Garnacha.

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