Monkfish cheeks with sea spinach and new season garlic

Serves 4

As well as fishing sustainably, we should also be using every part of the fish that's edible. Monkfish liver, for example, is a delicacy, and so are cods' tongues, skate knobs (cheeks) – and even the bones and heads can all be put to use in the kitchen.

1 or 2 heads of new season fresh garlic
500g monkfish cheeks, trimmed (a good fishmonger should be able to supply these, though you may need to order in advance)
2 large shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
100ml white wine
150ml fish stock
250ml double cream
A couple of handfuls of small wild sea-spinach leaves or baby spinach leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g butter

Simmer the heads of new season garlic in salted water for about 10-15 minutes, drain and leave to cool. Slice thinly lengthways across the whole cross section of the garlic, then melt some butter in a frying pan until foaming and fry the garlic on a medium heat for a minute or so on each side, then transfer to a plate. Wipe out the frying pan, season the monkfish cheeks, melt the rest of the butter in the frying pan and cook the cheeks on a low to medium heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the cheeks and put to one side with the garlic.

Fry the shallots for a couple of minutes, add the wine and fish stock to the pan and simmer until it has reduced by about two-thirds then add the cream, bring to the boil and simmer gently until it thickens. Add the sea spinach, garlic and monkfish cheeks and simmer for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted and is tender. If the sauce is too thick just add a little water. Add more seasoning if necessary.

Serve on its own as a starter or with mash as a main course.

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