I recently referenced that great comedian of Caledonian descent, Mike Miers, in Wayne’s World 2 I believe, describing all Scottish cooking as being based on a dare. Well, I wouldn’t go as far as that, but it’s certainly in my case subject to change.
This isn’t entirely about me continually refining, as much as occasionally forgetting to put stuff in, or just deciding to mix it up a little. However, the other night I cooked up a combination of two recipes from a tapas book and the Redoubtable Mrs F insisted I write it down with a view to actually repeating it some time.
You know, I can remember when monkfish was literally used for petfood. It was the nuisance at the bottom of the net the fishermen didn’t really want. And, to be fair, it’s got a face only a mother could love.
Then, of course, some fancy dan chef realised its potential, and now you pay through the nose for it. Just look at the thing: even in its death throes, it’s like it’s having the last laugh. ‘Hahahahaha, all you pretty fish,’ it might be saying, if it had functioning vocal chords and a nervous system capable of supporting irony. ‘Where are you now on Tom Kitchin’s menu, eh? Down in the cheap seats? Hahahaha-arggghhhh!’ as its gills finally collapse.
Anyhoo. I suppose if you were being fancy-dan, or even a bit Spanish, you’d call this Rape asado con salsa de almendras. Enjoy!
Roasted Monkfish with Almond Sauce
1 Monkfish tail, caul removed
5 – 6 cloves garlic
2 dessert spoons ground almonds
2 small shallots
Olive oil for frying/roasting
Juice of 1 lemon
Sprinkle of paella spice (optional)
Couple of sprigs fresh tarragon
Some fish stock (half a cube’s worth will probably do)
Potatoes, preferably the waxy kind
Preheat the oven to 220 (425/Gas 7). Meantime get the potatoes boiling or steaming till tender. Fry the monkfish on all sides for about 5 minutes on all sides to brown; skin the garlic cloves, chop one of them small, and leave the rest whole (or slice in half if they’re big). Pop the whole ones in a roasting tin with the monkfish on top, salt a little, and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until it’s cooked all the way through in the centre.
Make the sauce while you’re waiting; using the same oil as the monkfish was in, fry up the chopped garlic and shallots, then add in the lemon juice, the ground almonds, paella spice, tarragon, and a bit of the fish stock at a time. Use your own judgement on the consistency: the almonds should thicken it up. It may well be ready before the monkfish; if so, leave it to rest rather than boiling it hard.
If the tatties are ready before the monkfish, lob them in to get some of the roasting juices along with it. You could also roast some peppers in the same tin for the last 5 minutes.