There is only one more being on this Earth which can claim to be sexier than me. The so-called Monkfish. It is really not that difficult to prepare, and it tastes delicious. When you shop for your fish make sure it smells fresh, the eyes are bright, and it is not too “slimy”. Check the gills of the fish. They should be a healthy red hue. It is imperative the fish is fresh.
If you can tick off all those above, then you got a great product to work with, and you will easily impress your friends. There are a many version of this, but I have chosen to serve this with normal rice with a fresh pesto infused arugula with some red pepper garnish.
Firstly, preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 180°C, or in a fan oven 170°C.
The meat is very firm and succulent. It reminds of lobster. Either way, we are concentrating on the tail of the fish where the best meat is. About five centimeters above the fins you will make a cut. You will see the end of the tailbone. You will quickly separate the head from its tail. It should look something like in the picture below.
I am not going to use the head or bones of the fish to make a stock. For this recipe, I only need the tail. Therefore, discard the head. Keep it clean.
Get your fingers between the skin and meat and slowly tear and pull it towards the end. I will come off like a sock easily. You should be able to pull it off in one go. Throw the skin in the bin. Again, keep your space clean. You are now standing with a piece of white meat. In the middle, you will notice the bone. With a sharp knife, – get as close to the side of it and follow the spine until you get a fillet. Proceed to do the same with the other side.
You are now left with two pieces of fillets.
Thereby, proceed to remove the membrane, any worms, thus be careful not to destroy the fillets. Take your time, because it is all the preparation.
You now are left with two beautiful fillets. (in my case, I decided to split the fillets into four sections). Dry them in some paper and set aside.
Unpack the Parma ham and slowly pull the pieces out without tearing them apart. Place one piece of ham on the cutting board and let another slice overlap it slightly. About, three to four slices are sufficient.
Then take the Monkfish meat and wrap the ham around. If some parts of the fillets are thinner at one end, cut them off – so you have the same thickness. This is important for when you place it in the oven to cook evenly.
It should look something like this.
Drizzle the roasting tray with a little olive oil before you place the pieces on it. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. When you think it is ready, test the fish by inserting a skewer, the fish must feel firm tot he touch and white (not translucent whitish), and the ham must be of a crackly texture.
I tend to baste the pieces with a little butter about 20 minutes into process.
While the fish is in the oven, you can wash the arugula. Break it into smaller pieces by twisting it with your hands a few times and thereby mix it with a pesto sauce. Leave in the bowl and set aside until needed. You can also get a portion of rice boiling at this point.
I use a torch to burn the red pepper bell. before slicing them into long lines. However, be very careful because you can injure yourself badly if mishandled.
Top with some butter sauce and lemon. Plate as you wish.
Hope you have success and enjoy.