Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Wrapped Monkfish and New Potato Salad

Whenever he sees monkfish on a menu, Mr A&N’s eyes light up and he begins muttering statements whose main intelligible noises consist of ‘Mmm…good...monkfish…mmm’. We rarely think of cooking it at home though, mainly because the fishmonger by us doesn’t feature it. While driving around looking for tile shops this weekend (the kitchen renovations live on) we came across a Morrisons; Mr. A&N being a Northern-type suggested that we do our shopping there, during which we found that their reputation for having a well-stocked fish counter is deserved. They had some of the freshest fish I’ve seen in a supermarket, and some great monkfish filets that prompted Mr A&N to start making his noises and guaranteed that that fish would be coming back with us and winding up in our bellies.

We tend to split the cooking about 50/50 (alternating nights rather than working together – god forbid, that way madness lies), but from the start I knew the monkfish would be his project. He decided to do it classic style, wrapped in prosciutto and with some herbs, garlic, and lemon. On the side would be his new potato salad, again heavy on the herbs and with capers for some nice saltiness. I voted for flash-fried garlicky spinach on the side, and to use the remainder of our garlicky plum sauce (made with duck stock and stewed plum juices) if anything wanted saucing up. End result of all this garlic, of course, producing a stinking happy duo.

I’m not as frequent a monkfish connoiseur as my other half, and I expected the fish to be as strong in flavor as it was in body. I hadn’t realized that though the flesh is very firm and meaty, the taste is more delicate and the flesh absorbs a good deal of the flavors around it. I really enjoyed the slight crispness of the prosciutto and how it passed the saltiness on to the fish, and am also being won over to the powers of the ugly-but-good monkfish.

Prosciutto wrapped monkfish (serves 2)

  • 2 monkfish tails
  • 1 lemon
  • 8 slices of prosciutto or speck or other cured ham
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, or several leave of sage
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  1. If you’re feeling confident, remove the bone from the monkfish tail. You can leave in, but it will be slightly more fiddly when eat. Make sure fish is cleaned and patted dry.
  2. Squeeze the lemon over the monkfish tails and allow to marinate for about 15-20 minutes while you prepare other things.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190C/380F
  4. Layout the ham so that 3-4 pieces evenly overlap each other (the pieces should be placed width-to-width); make sure the overall width is wide enough to wrap up the tail. Repeat this with the other slices of ham for the other piece of fish.
  5. Lay out a handful of rosemary or sage and half the garlic along the overlapping ham slices. Lay this out in the direction that the fish will run.
  6. Place the monkfish along the edge of the ham, and roll the fish up in the slices.
  7. Place the fish in a oven-safe tray, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, until the fish is firm to the touch.

New Potato salad – an approximate recipe (enough for 2 hearty eaters)

  • 300 g new potatoes
  • 1 Tbs full of capers, rinsed and chopped
  • Handful of fresh herbs, chopped – parsley, mint and basil is our preferred trio
  • 2-3 spring onions, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Dash of vinegar or lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Slice the potatoes in half, then boil them (skin still on) until they’re tender enough for a fork/skewer to go in.
  2. Remove and drain, and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Toss the potatoes with capers, herbs, spring onions, and enough olive oil and vinegar/lemon juice to make it moist. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss together well.
  4. Balance out the flavor with more herbs, capers, oil, salt, etc depending on your tastes.


Ilva said...

This sounds delicious and I really like the atmosphere of the photos a lot!

Jeena said...

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Jeena xx

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