Hake, sole, cod and salmon are among my favourite varieties of fish. Isn’t it funny when you can buy something for dirt cheap, you don’t think much of it; instead more expensive stuff holds your attention? Hake is one of the cheapest fish available in South Africa and yet I took it for granted. Since living in the UK it has made a rare and costly appearance here and there and I miss its white, moist and flaky meat. Fortunately, I’ve made some other discoveries along the way and one of them is monkfish.
Have you seen a whole Monkfish lately? It is one ugly dude. We shouldn’t give the poor guy too hard a time though, because if you think about it, most edible fish are aesthetically challenged. Let’s chop off its head, chuck it in the bin and hope it doesn’t haunt us in our nightmares. Ah, that’s better, see?
The pinkish flesh is meaty and lots of cooks love wrapping it in bacon. Others treat it as a meat and even braise it in red wine. If you were wondering about how to cook it, just about anything goes: bake, braise, grill, roast, sauté and steam. Monkfish has many flavour companions, but here are its best friends: bacon, carrots, garlic, lemon, lemongrass, mushrooms, thyme, tomatoes and wine.
So why a salad? Because I like to be different and it tastes damn fine too.
P.S. Thanks to Good Taste Foods for sending over some Monkfish fillets for me to experiment with.
Warm Monkfish & Orange Salad
Preparation: 15 mins – Cooking: 15 mins
- 600g (1.3 lbs) monkfish, filleted and cut into bite-size pieces
- seasoned flour, for coating
- 150g (10 tbsp) butter
- 1 shallot, chopped
- grated zest of 1 orange and juice of 2
- 30ml (2 tbsp) honey
- 1 lettuce head, shredded
- 2 oranges, peeled and segmented
- Wash monkfish and pat dry on kitchen paper. Place in a polythene bag with the flour and shake well to coat fish evenly.
- In a large frying pan, melt 60g (4 tbsp) butter. Add the monkfish and fry for 6-8 minutes until golden and tender. Remove from pan and keep warm. Add remaining butter to the pan and cook shallots for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the honey, orange zest and juice, stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes to give a dressing consistency.
- Divide the lettuce between 4 serving plates and arrange the fish pieces and orange segments on top. Serve dressing on the side.
- To make this a proper dinner, I added steamed new potatoes and sliced avocado to my plate.
- If you can’t get hold of monfish, any meaty white fish will do.