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Monkfish with a Lemon Pepper Crust and a Warm Lemon Anchovy Vinaigrette

Monkfish is ranked with lobster in terms of luxury, but I think its succulent juicy flesh has more going for it in many ways – especially in this recipe with its crusty edge and sublime combination of flavours. No one who eats it will believe how very simple it is.


This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury’s Magazine (Guide to Fish Cookery)


Wipe the monkfish with damp kitchen paper and cut it into rounds ¾ inch (2 cm) thick, then lay it in a dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice and leave it for 10 minutes, or longer if that suits you better.

Meanwhile, crush the peppercorns fairly coarsely with a pestle and mortar and add the flour, salt and lemon zest to them. Mix well and spread the mixture out on to a plate. Now dry the pieces of fish well with kitchen paper and coat them with the lemon pepper mixture.

Then, in a good solid frying pan, heat the oil until it's very hot and fry the fish in 2 batches, giving them 2-3 minutes on each side. Keep the first batch warm.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette by combining the oil, lemon zest and juice – preferably in a screw-top jar so you can give it a good shake – and add the chopped anchovies.

When the second batch of fish is ready, transfer it to join the rest, then add the shallot to the pan, adding a little more oil if necessary, and fry briefly for about 30 seconds. Then pour in the dressing, let it bubble and reduce down slightly, whisking briefly with a balloon whisk.

Serve the fish on warm plates with the sauce poured over and, if you like, lemon slices as a garnish.


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