SPICED MONKFISH AND AUBERGINE PURÉE

SPICED MONKFISH AND AUBERGINE PURÉE

Whenever you cook monkfish, you should treat it like a piece of meat and allow it to rest and relax before cutting and serving, as this helps it retain its moisture. Cooking aubergine like I do in this recipe and then leaving it to drain removes the excess water that it contains. The remaining aubergine flesh works like a sponge, absorbing all the lovely flavours that you put with it.

INGREDIENTS

SERVES: 2

2 large aubergines

2 tablespoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

olive oil

100ml double cream

finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

2 monkfish fillets, about 220g each, skinned and the thin grey membrane rubbed off

butter, for cooking

salt and pepper, to taste

celery leaves, to garnish

 

For the green olive dressing:

100g green olives, stoned and chopped

6 salted anchovy fillets, chopped

1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained

1 fresh red chilli, chopped – with seeds and all

75ml extra virgin olive oil

juice of ½ lemon

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

METHOD

1: A day in advance, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.

2: Use a blow torch or a gas flame on the hob to char the aubergine skins all over. When they are charred, put them in a roasting tray, place the tray in the oven and roast them for 35–45 minutes until they are very soft. Take the aubergines out of the oven and leave to cool. Do not turn the oven off.

3: Mix the cumin and coriander seeds together in a roasting tray. Place the tray in the oven and toast the seeds, taking the tray out once or twice and stirring, for 8–10 minutes until they are aromatic. Immediately remove the seeds from the tray and leave to one side until needed the next day.

4: When the aubergines are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh, avoiding any of the charred skin. Chop the flesh until it forms a rough purée. Scrape the purée into a colander over a bowl and leave it to drain overnight.

5: The next day, put the cumin and coriander into a spice grinder and grid to form a powder, then pass through a fine sieve to remove any bigger pieces.

6: Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add 1½ tablespoons of the toasted spice powder and fry, stirring, for 2–3 minutes. Add the drained aubergine purée and stir until it is warmed through. Add the double cream and lemon zest and juice and season. Cover with foil and keep hot until needed. Or you can leave this to cool and reheat it gently just before serving. It will keep for 2–3 days in a covered container in the fridge.

7: Dust the monkfish fillets in the remaining spice mix. Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil and some butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the monkfish and fry, turning the fillets all the time so the spices don’t burn, for 6–8 minutes until cooked through and the flesh flakes easily. Remove them from the pan and baste in the warm butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. Leave to rest, as though they were pieces of meat.

8: While the monkfish is resting, make the green olive dressing. Mix the green olives, anchovies, capers and red chilli together in a non-metallic bowl. Stir in the olive oil, the rest of the lemon juice and parsley and season, although it might not need much seasoning because there are lots of bold flavours here.

9: To serve, reheat the aubergine purée, if necessary. Place a spoonful of the purée on each plate. Slice the monkfish and place on top of the purée, then spoon the green olive dressing over the top, garnish with celery leaves and serve immediately.

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INGREDIENTS

SERVES: 2

2 large aubergines

2 tablespoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

olive oil

100ml double cream

finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

2 monkfish fillets, about 220g each, skinned and the thin grey membrane rubbed off

butter, for cooking

salt and pepper, to taste

celery leaves, to garnish

 

For the green olive dressing:

100g green olives, stoned and chopped

6 salted anchovy fillets, chopped

1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained

1 fresh red chilli, chopped – with seeds and all

75ml extra virgin olive oil

juice of ½ lemon

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

METHOD

1: A day in advance, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.

2: Use a blow torch or a gas flame on the hob to char the aubergine skins all over. When they are charred, put them in a roasting tray, place the tray in the oven and roast them for 35–45 minutes until they are very soft. Take the aubergines out of the oven and leave to cool. Do not turn the oven off.

3: Mix the cumin and coriander seeds together in a roasting tray. Place the tray in the oven and toast the seeds, taking the tray out once or twice and stirring, for 8–10 minutes until they are aromatic. Immediately remove the seeds from the tray and leave to one side until needed the next day.

4: When the aubergines are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh, avoiding any of the charred skin. Chop the flesh until it forms a rough purée. Scrape the purée into a colander over a bowl and leave it to drain overnight.

5: The next day, put the cumin and coriander into a spice grinder and grid to form a powder, then pass through a fine sieve to remove any bigger pieces.

6: Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add 1½ tablespoons of the toasted spice powder and fry, stirring, for 2–3 minutes. Add the drained aubergine purée and stir until it is warmed through. Add the double cream and lemon zest and juice and season. Cover with foil and keep hot until needed. Or you can leave this to cool and reheat it gently just before serving. It will keep for 2–3 days in a covered container in the fridge.

7: Dust the monkfish fillets in the remaining spice mix. Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil and some butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the monkfish and fry, turning the fillets all the time so the spices don’t burn, for 6–8 minutes until cooked through and the flesh flakes easily. Remove them from the pan and baste in the warm butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. Leave to rest, as though they were pieces of meat.

8: While the monkfish is resting, make the green olive dressing. Mix the green olives, anchovies, capers and red chilli together in a non-metallic bowl. Stir in the olive oil, the rest of the lemon juice and parsley and season, although it might not need much seasoning because there are lots of bold flavours here.

9: To serve, reheat the aubergine purée, if necessary. Place a spoonful of the purée on each plate. Slice the monkfish and place on top of the purée, then spoon the green olive dressing over the top, garnish with celery leaves and serve immediately.

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TOM KERRIDGE'S PROPER PUB FOOD (2013)

Inspired by British pub classics, recipes you can cook in your own kitchen, with my simple twists to make them sensational.

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