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.
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This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury’s Magazine (Guide to Fish Cookery) Serves 4
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.