Michelin, Monkfish and Mmmmmmm!

20170107_173251_001The last time I cooked Monkfish was in 2015, whilst in France at the French House Party Cookery School. Having checked back, Médallions de Lotte Safrantées, Arlequin du Jardin was on the menu, Medallions of Monkfish with Saffron & Seasonal Vegetables, you can see the results below. Our teacher was a Michelin starred Chef, I have the pleasure of his company again this year in May, very exciting.

FHP Day 4 028Being the start of the new year, trying to find some ‘healthier’ lighter dishes has been on the agenda which can be difficult when the weather is cold and blustery, nights draw in quickly and the tendency is to focus on Stews, Casseroles which are heartier and more fulfilling.

Inspiration came from Rick Stein and his ‘Long Weekends’ programs, Monkfish Fritters with Cumin, Garlic and Pimentón which in the book accompanying the series, looked very tasty. Ricks’ version is positioned as a starter, with a Mustard Mayonnaise, as this was to be a main course I came up with a Mushroom, Mustard and Madeira Sauce (with Parsley), and added some Potatoes Fried in Olive Oil. The ingredients are in the heading picture, Monkfish was £29Kg from my local supplier so you may wish to pick another fish such as Cod or Pollack which is cheaper. You need about 150 – 20o grams per person.

20170107_181840Whichever Fish you decide to use, it needs marinating for at least 2 hours. Smoked Paprika, Garlic, Sherry Vinegar, Oregano, Cumin, Pepper and Salt along with a bit of water make up the marinade, Spanish Flavours which add a delicious piquancy.

Whilst the Fish is soaking up the flavours you can start work on the potatoes, I used some ‘New Potatoes’ boiled in their skins and left to cool before gently peeling and slicing.

20170107_180305You can also work on the sauce beforehand, frying some thinly sliced button mushrooms in Olive Oil and a little butter before adding a small amount of Vegetable Stock Cube and a dash of water to dissolve it. The sauce was a ‘cook by andaza’ or estimation, something taught to me by Sumayya Usmani who wrote the very successful cookery book ‘Under the Tamarind Tree’. I had the great pleasure to attend a couple of her day courses, great fun and a real insight into the foods of Pakistan and the lesser known parts of ‘Middle Earth’.

I added a ‘slurp’ of White Wine and let it reduce, then a ‘dollop’ of Grain Mustard, a ‘tad’ of Dijon Mustard followed by a ‘glug’ of Madeira, tasting as I progressed, then some seasoning. This continued until the flavour was correct, finally some Double Cream and more seasoning. Job done the sauce was covered and put to once side whilst the rest of the dish was completed. Now that would be an interesting cookery book!!20170107_200811The Potatoes had cooled and skins removed, boiling with the skins on definitely imparts a better favour and is my preferred technique for mash as well as fried. I used Olive Oil from Puglia, Organic and great value for money from Riverford Organic, and delivery is free if ordered with a Veg box!

20170107_203337Almost done, The Fish needs draining and dredging in Semolina before frying in the Olive Oil. You may have noticed I have only used one pan for this recipe, my new friend the Netherton Prospector which is doing a great job. I also have a frying pan from Netherton Foundry which will be put to use very soon!

This bit IS a bit tricky, and may need some practise. The Semolina seems to have a habit of falling off, I think the temperature of the fat was a bit too low as the second batch were much better. As there is no ‘glue’ involved such as egg and flour we are relying on moisture and pure determination!

20170107_203828Yes, I know I need to work on my presentation a lot (unlike my previous attempt at the top of the page), but the meal was very tasty indeed. I opted to serve the sauce in a ramekin as it was a bit neater, it really worked with the Monkfish (the bosses words, not mine). This dish is easy to make, very very tasty and quite light, and could be served with a salad of Red Onion and Tomatoes if you can get some decent ones with a bit of flavour this time of year.

So there we have it, the 1st healthy post of the year, I will do the review of The Woodspeen I previously mentioned next time, it was awesome value for money with a Michelin Star and the food was just fab.

……………………………Until next time……………………L8ers…

 

 

 

The French House Party – A culinary adventure to France (Day 4) part deux

FHP Day 4 028Today’s cooking was ‘intense’, I mean that in a positive way as we must have been in the kitchen for about 6 hours, priceless when you have a Michelin starred Chef on hand to tutor and guide you through the most delicious (and visually stunning) dishes.

FHP Day 4 011Take one Monkfish, head removed and do your ‘thing’ with a sharp filleting knife, we set to work preparing our next dish, Medallions of Monkfish with Saffron.

Sounds simple from the description but the reality was completely different! Removing skin, discarding scrappy bits and prepping two beautiful fillets, learning more knife skills on the way it was a great experience.

FHP Day 4 001The Monkfish was to be served with seasonal vegetables (Fennel, Spring Onions, Broad Beans, Carrots and Artichokes) and a rich sauce, enhanced with some Garlic, Squid Ink and Olive Oil which you can just see in the top picture, it tasted sublime.

FHP Day 4 020The starter we prepared is well worth a mention as it required the use of ‘whipping’ cream, which you may recall was going to be a challenge. Bavarois de poivrons doux sour coulis de tomates acidulées, impressive to say the least, a dish of Pepper and Tomato which was very light but absolutely packed with flavour and tasted delish.

This was one of those occasions where we had to slightly adjust the menu, the cream we had would not whip so the use of a small amount of Gelatine was required to get the Pepper Bavarois to the right consistency for ‘quenelleing’.

IMG_0238Mille-feuille translated means a thousand leaves, and I’ve always fancied a go but never got round to it, until now!

Puff Pastry layered with ‘Crème Pâtissière’ it was surprisingly straight forward to do, and has got me thinking about how I could use the Jelly making technique we learnt in the Salmon Tartare dish on the 2nd day with Robert, to create a  dessert layered with fruit flavoured Jelly and Crème Pât, watch the blog for my experiments on this.

We settled down for the evening and chatted over cheese and wine, in fact that was the routine most evenings when we were not out and about in nice restaurants. Its true to say we did eat quite a lot of cheese, and very nice it was too.

Another day beckons tomorrow and more fun in the kitchen, along with another tour, this time a Vineyard.

 

………………Until next time…………L8ers……….