Monkfish; also known as the ‘tenderloin of the sea’ is one of the UK’s most prized delicacies. The monkfish population is rife here on the South West coast, and available all year round to gratify those seafood lovers’ appetites.
Often compared to lobster, monkfish is a very meaty fish, with a palatable taste and sweet aroma that leans on the mild side in terms of flavour. However, its structure and toothsome texture mean it can handle domineering and assertive flavours such as pungent lemon or curried spices.
Our recipe features the latter alongside delicate mussels cooked in white wine and saffron, with a grain mustard and tarragon sauce – the perfect dish to warm those tummies and bring some fire to the senses.
For the Monkfish
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 600g monkfish tails cut into 12 medallions
- Olive Oil
- 60 g unsalted butter
- Juice of one lemon
For the Mussels
- 40g chopped shallots
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- 50ml white wine
- 400g washed mussels
- 1 pinch of saffron
- 25ml double or whipping cream
- 500ml fish stock
- 1 tsp grain mustard
- 1 handful of chopped fresh tarragon
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
- Beginning with the Monkfish, mix the curry powder and salt together in a bowl. Season the fish with the mix along with a couple of grinds of black pepper.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick, ovenproof pan and add 20g of butter. Place the fish in the pan and cook it over a medium heat until the fish is golden brown. Flip it over and pop the pan into the oven for around 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and squeeze some lemon juice over the fish.
- Set it aside and allow it to rest.
- Moving on to the mussels, ensure that they are washed and cleaned, rid of any grit. Melt 20g of butter in a large saucepan and add the shallots. Cook them until they’re soft and transparent.
- Add the bay leaf, thyme and tarragon followed by the white wine and bring it to a boil. Add the cleaned mussels and cover them with a lid.
- Once the mussels have opened, pour them into a colander over a bowl and leave them to drain (discard any mussels that remain closed).
- Pour the cooking liquid back into the saucepan along with a pinch of the saffron strands, the cream and the fish stock.
- Once it starts boiling, whisk in the remaining butter and simmer until the liquid has reduced to a creamy consistency.
- Add a teaspoon of grain mustard, season with salt and pepper and finish with chopped tarragon.
- To serve, reheat the monkfish slightly in the oven for a few minutes and transfer it to your serving plates.
- Pour the cooked mussels over the top (in or out of the shell, whichever you prefer) and spoon over the sauce.