monkfish stew – a taste of the med

monkfish stew - a taste of the MedAs a cook, one needs to be flexible.  The other day I was cleaning out a cubby hole where a pile of paper with scribbled recipes waited; some were tossed either because the dish was made or it wasn’t something I wanted to make.  I cook according to my mood and when I am at my happiest, so too are the meals I make.  It’s no longer a chore to nourish the body but pure joy.  Unlike the character Tita, from Like Water for Chocolate, I don’t make my family or friends feel the emotion from the food I have prepared – although that would make for a very interesting experiment! 

But I digress.  Back to why it is essential to be flexible when cooking.  The highlight of this dish should have been swordfish but when I was at Hooked Halifax yesterday, I came away with monkfish.  Turns out local swordfish is only available in the summer.  A quick discussion with the fishmonger and it was clear I would have to shift gears.  It’s a fish stew so as much as I wanted swordfish, any meaty and dense fish would do the trick.

If monkfish isn’t available, substitute with cod, haddock, snapper or your favorite fish.  This recipe isn’t complicated nor is it necessary to follow as instructed…use the ingredients as a guide.  If you like your base to have more tomatoes, then add more.  After all, if you’ve made stews before, you know you can ad lib according to taste or what you have on hand.

serves 2
1 lb. monkfish, sliced into chunks
1 large potato, thinly sliced
small onion, chopped
a handful of olives, sliced or chopped
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
sprinkle of chili pepper flakes
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce

In a frying pan heat a generous amount of olive oil (should cover the bottom).  Add onion and cook until soft.  Add olives, capers, chili pepper flakes and stir.  Then add tomato sauce and stir to combine.  Add potato slices and make sure potato slices are submerged in the sauce.  Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked when pierced with a knife.   Place fish on top, cover, and cook a further 5 minutes.  You may need to turn the heat up to medium to achieve a gentle boil.  The monkfish is cooked when the color changes to opaque.  If using other types of fish mentioned above, the fish is cooked when it is easily flaked.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Be easy on the chili pepper flakes.  There should be a sense of heat but nothing that overpowers the dish.  Looking for a wine pairing suggestion?  We had our first glass of rosé which held up quite nicely to the tomato and heat from the chili pepper flakes.  Enjoy!

monkfish stew - a taste of the med
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. monkfish, sliced into chunks
  • 1 large potato, thinly sliced
  • small onion, chopped
  • a handful of olives, sliced or chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • sprinkle of chili pepper flakes
  • 1½ cup tomato sauce
Instructions
  1. In a frying pan heat a generous amount of olive oil (should cover the bottom). Add onion and cook until soft. Add olives, capers, chili pepper flakes and stir. Then add tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add potato slices and make sure potato slices are submerged in the sauce. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked when pierced with a knife. Place fish on top, cover, and cook a further 5 minutes. You may need to turn the heat up to medium to achieve a gentle boil. The monkfish is cooked when the color changes to opaque. If using other types of fish mentioned above, the fish is cooked when it is easily flaked.
  2. The Culinary Chase’s Note: Be easy on the chili pepper flakes. There should be a sense of heat but nothing that overpowers the dish. Looking for a wine pairing suggestion? We had our first glass of rosé which held up quite nicely to the tomato and heat from the chili pepper flakes Enjoy!

 

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