Monkfish cheeks with sea spinach and new season garlic
Saturday 28 March 2009
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
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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