When Artichoke Hart went into Young Oppenheimer’s Grocery Store, (New York Fried, Sunao Publishing) he was surprised to see the wide array of fish available. For such a town so close to water (Lake Ontario), it still seemed odd to find fish that were common to the Atlantic. This monkfish was sitting on ice and Hart couldn’t resist. He’d put the photo up in the lounge and invite the staff to come for a feast that evening. He wondered how many would show up. A member of the Angler family, a monkfish is both ugly and scary looking. But the meat (most often the tail section) is very mild and tasty. When cooking, it does fall apart easily though, so cooking sous vide, baking, or–as in Hart’s case–breading lightly and then gently sauteeing are the best ways to prepare the fish. Hart added a simple lemon/caper herb sauce (pre-made) and soaked it in white wine for an hour prior to cooking. The staff (those that showed) loved it!

INGREDIENTS

1 monkfish fillet for per two people (apx. 4oz per person)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 green onions, chopped finely
prepared lemon-based marinade or dressing (Clubhouse brand Lemon/Caper Fish Sauce is what Hart uses)
1/2 cup white wine (per filet)
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar or condiment
1 cup (per filet) of  light breading (crushed crackers work just as well)

METHOD

Marinate filets in white wine and sauce for 1 hr. minimum.
Put  olive oil in large cast-iron or ovenproof pan (enough to place filets in with space around them)
Place breading in a bowl and drop filets in to coat lightly
Add onions to pan and cook for 1 minute
Remove onions and add filets to pan. Be sure to leave room for flipping without disturbing other filets.
Cook until browned (about 5 min) then gently flip each filet over. Try not to break pieces. They are very fragile at this point. Add onions atop each filet and pour some of the wine sauce over each filet. Cook for a further 5 min.
Add butter to pan and place in oven at 350 for  5 minutes to finish.

Serve with rice and a sweet pickle or compote on the side.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

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