Nick Hodge’s Recipe for Barbecued Monkfish

Monkfish was once deemed too ugly to be displayed in fishmongers’ windows, but it’s a big hit with us. Adored by chefs for its meaty white flesh that is highly versatile, monkfish has a relatively delicate flavour that works best with simple ingredients to avoid overpowering it.

Nick tells us that monkfish is the perfect pairing for late summer dining – so he has lovingly created this barbecue recipe with warm niçoise salad, charred baby gem and lemon. Catch him cooking up a storm on Sunday 24th September at 1pm at the Great Cornish Food Festival in Truro, where you’ll be able to sample this mouth-watering dish for yourself.

INGREDIENTS

The monkfish spice blend:

  • 160g monkfish tail fillet per portion
  • Teaspoon of Cajun spice
  • Teaspoon of sea salt
  • Teaspoon of black pepper
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Teaspoon of oil

The niçoise:

These weights are approximate, based on a rustic salad – simply increase or decrease depending on your likes and dislikes…

  • 50g fine green beans
  • 50g samphire
  • 20g pitted olives
  • 20g sun blush tomatoes
  • Small selection of heritage tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • 50g cooked new potatoes

Top tip: Blanch your samphire and green beans in hot water and refresh them in cold water, preventing them to overcook.

To serve:

  • Half a lemon
  • Half a baby gem lettuce

METHOD

Smother the fish in the spices and leave for an hour. Don’t do this overnight as the lemon will start cooking the fish, and the Cajun spice can overpower the subtle fish flavour. Store the remaining spice blend in the fridge in a jam jar for another day!

Depending on how confident you are cooking fish, there are two ways of cooking your monkfish:

  • Cook in one piece on a griddle or BBQ. This will take about 5 or 6 minutes on each side, as monkfish cooks similarly to chicken or pork and the heat will take some time to penetrate the core of the fish.
  • If you less confident, cut the fish into finger thick pieces. Place on the hot BBQ or griddle for 1 or 2 minutes each side.

Top tip: You will see the monkfish turning from an opaque clear colour to a bright white, very similar to chicken when cooking. This indicates when the fish is ready.

Secondly, cut half a lemon and half a baby gem lettuce into quarters. Char on your hot barbecue, making the classic BBQ fired lines.

To plate the dish, combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl. Mix with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Place on your plate, then garnish with the charred lemon and baby gem. Finish with the monkfish and enjoy!