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[Recipe] Michael's Saffron Monkfish

 
Michael Matola
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Michael's Saffron Monkfish

I had been looking for a good but simple recipe involving monkfish and saffron, and maybe tomatoes, but couldn't find anything I was happy with, so here's what I came up with.

Ingredients:

monkfish (Substitution alert: I've used catfish with good results, when monkfish wasn't available. I'd imagine any firm whitefish would do.)
tomatoes (If they're not ripe and delicious, don't bother making this recipe.)
cucumbers (Yes, we're going to cook cucumbers. Also, I have in mind plump largish American-style cucumbers, not "English" cucumbers, brinjals, Swedes, whatever.)
saffron
olive oil
salt and pepper
bread cubes

Equipment:

large bowl for marinating
medium casserole (I use one of those ubiquitous French white oval things, about 3 inches deep)

Cook:

Cut the monkfish into nuggets. I've made this in small batches of about a pound of fish up to larger batches of 2-1/2 pounds. Put a generous amount of olive oil in a large bowl. Add a large pinch of saffron to the oil and crush up the saffron. Use a decent amount of saffron -- my intention is not a subtle "hmm, does this have saffron in it?" but a "wow, that's good saffron!" effect. Add the fish. Salt and pepper. Stir a bit to coat the fish. Probably add some more oil because you'll later add the vegetables and you want it all to get coated nicely with the seasoned oil. Put this in the fridge to marinate, for at least a half an hour or so.

Cut some bread into large (1 inch or so) cubes. I've been using ciabatta with very good results. Line the bottom of the casserole with the bread cubes and toast in a warm oven until crisp and browned.

Tomatoes and cucumbers -- use roughly the same amount each of tomatoes and cucumbers as you did fish (or maybe a little less each of the vegetables). Cut the tomatoes in large sections. Skin the cucumbers and cut into large pieces. I prefer keeping the seeds. Part of the idea is that when this cooks, juices from the tomatoes and cucumbers and the oil soak into the bread cubes at the bottom.

When the bread has browned and the fish has marinated (saffron has turned the oil and fish yellow-orange), add the vegetables to the fish and stir it all together, getting the vegetables coated with the oil. Put this mixture on top of the bread cubes in the casserole and put under the broiler.

Cooking time. In my oven, a small batch will cook in 20-25 minutes or so under the broiler. A larger batch might take 30 minutes or so. The idea is to just cook the fish, but get the stuff on top a little burnt. You don't want to dry out the fish or cucumbers, though.

Enjoy!

(This is also pretty good as a cold salad, but the bread gets a little soggy.)
(Potential variations: I've thought about adding a little bit of spinach cut into thin stips, but haven't tried that yet.)
 
Helen Thomas
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Monkfish ? Nuggets ?

Monkfish is too expensive here to make nuggets with.
 
Michael Matola
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HT: Monkfish is too expensive here to make nuggets with.

In that case cut the monkfish into medallions.
 
Helen Thomas
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