Monkfish is traditionally known as the 'poor man's lobster', because it used to be substituted for the real thing. It has recently become a popular dish in its own right, however, featuring regularly on restaurant menus. Despite its ugly appearance - with its huge head and gaping mouth- its firm flesh is succulent with a mild, sweet flavour, making it an excellent and versatile fish to cook and eat. Monkfish is also easy to prepare, as it has no fine bones. It tastes particularly good when spiced, as in this recipe, which uses black peppercorns. Fish stock is now available in large supermarkets, or you can make your own using the backbone, skin, and any other trimmings from the monkfish.
Preparation time : 30 minutes,
Cooking time : 25 minutes,
Calories per serving: 160
2 x 1 lb (450 g) monkfish tails
1 teaspoon coarsely crushed black peppercorns
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1/2 oz (15 g) unsalted butter
1/4 pint (150 ml) fish stock
1 teaspoon arrowroot
4 tablespoons half cream
2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
1. Remove the skin from the fish, and as much of the pink membrane as possible. Remove the fillets by cutting along either side of the central bone, then wash and pat them dry.
2. Gently rub a little salt, and the coarsely crushed black peppercorns, evenly into the fish.
3. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and cook the fish for 10 minutes over a medium heat, turning occasionally until the fillets are well sealed. Add the fish stock, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Mix the arrowroot with 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir the mixture into the pan, along with the cream and brandy. Cook for a few minutes, stirring until thickened, then remove and serve.
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