It may not be a looker, but monkfish is a beautifully flavoursome fish that works particularly well barbecued or grilled – as these two recipes show...
TIKKA MONKFISH KEBABS
PREPARATION TIME: 10 mins
COOKING TIME: 8-12 mins
• 2 tbsp tikka curry paste • 2 tbsp organic natural yoghurt • 455g monkfish fillets, skinned and cubed • 1 green pepper, deseeded and cubed
1. Preheat the grill.
2. Blend the tikka paste with the yoghurt. Thread the fish and pepper onto four short, soaked, wooden skewers. Brush generously with the tikka mix.
3. Cook under a moderate grill for 8-12 minutes, turning once and basting with any remaining tikka mix.
4. Serve with raita and lime wedges or pitta bread and a green salad.
GRILLED MONKFISH WITH ROSEMARY
PREPARATION TIME: 15 mins
COOKING TIME: 6 mins
• 500-600g monkfish, filleted and skinned • 8 sprigs of fresh rosemary (kept long for skewering) • 100g tomatoes (plum, vine, cherry or a mixture) per person • 2 x 125g buffalo mozzarellas • Handful of whole, fresh, bushy basil leaves • Extra-virgin olive oil • Sea salt • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1. Slice the monkfish thinly lengthways down each fillet and cut into eight lengths. Thread a sprig of rosemary through each one until the whole strip is skewered.
2. Slice the tomatoes, leaving the smaller ones whole. Arrange on a serving plate with torn-up chunks of mozzarella. Scatter the fresh basil leaves on top and dress with the olive oil (lemon-flavoured oil works well, too).
3. Get your grill or barbecue hot. Brush the monkfish with a little oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and grill for 2-3 minutes per side, allowing the fish to lightly sear and the rosemary to blacken.
4. Place the monkfish on top of the salad and finish with a little more crunchy sea salt, a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.
Recipes and imagery courtesy of Fish is the Dish, a Seafi sh Initiative. www.seafish.org
Tanners’ wine expert Tiffany Vernon goes dry and sweet, red and white, when matching wines to this issue’s dishes...
Grilled Monkfish with Rosemary is a very meaty dish that can pair with both red and white wine. The salad makes this a little trickier to match with a wine, so I’m going to focus on the fish for my top picks.
Let’s start with white and an old favourite of mine – Cune Blanco Barrel Fermented, Rioja (£11.20). It’s a traditional white Rioja made from the local Viura grape variety and aged in oak barrels for just a few months. This produces a wine that’s fresh yet creamy, dashed with ripe pears and citrus fruit and topped off with toasty vanilla notes. The toasted oak flavours work particularly well with the grilled element of the dish and savoury flavours complement the rosemary. This is a great alternative to a buttery Chardonnay.
Alternatively, opt for Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir, Louis Latour (£12.50), a light red brimming with ripe raspberries teamed with earth and spice, a hint of truffle and pretty floral character. This is soft and juicy, and easy to pair with fish. Domaine Louis Latour are now on the sixth generation of the family to take on winemaking within the Burgundy region of France. This particular Pinot Noir comes from outside of Burgundy, making it very affordable and fabulous for the money!
Tikka Monkfish Kebabs is not a dish I’d thought about before but, my, have I been introduced to something wonderful! I could see so many wine-matching potentials here, but I finally narrowed it down to the two best candidates.
First, Margan Verdelho, Hunter Valley (£13.20) is a white from one of the hottest winegrowing regions within Australia. The sunshine here adds a tropical twist to the otherwise super-zesty, green apple and limedrenched Verdelho – a grape variety ordinarily found in Portugal and more commonly associated with a dry style of Madeira wine.
On the other hand, you could go for a richer and slightly sweet style with Domaine Bruno Sorg Gewürztraminer, Alsace (£16.50), which oozes mango, pineapple and lychee combined with ginger enrobed in honey and a pronounced nose of Turkish delight! There’s a little sweetness here that matches perfectly with the spice, but a good kick of lemony acidity in the wine gives a lovely lift to ensure it doesn’t overpower or feel cloying.
Prices subject to changes in duty. Tanners Wines, 102/103 Tremarl Industrial Estate, Ffordd Maelgwyn, Llandudno Junction, Conwy LL31 9PN. Tel: 01492 874099. www.tanners-wines.co.uk