Sunday, March 17

Monkfish 'Roast Dinner', Red Wine & Brown Butter Sauce

Sunday roasts are great, but I always feel the need to lounge on the sofa for a couple of hours afterwards giving my stomach time to digest the vast quantities of protein and carbs I have just shovelled down. This is my attempt to lighten the whole thing up. 

I'm not going to go into too much detail on what vegetables to use or how to cook them - I am sure you will work it out. The real star of the show here is the pairing of fish with an unusual red wine and butter dressing. Monkfish is really meaty and can handle a robust sauce, this one gives you that roast gravy taste without masking the flavour of the fish.

Monkfish Tails - on the bone, 4x200g 
Red wine - 200ml
Red wine vinegar - 100ml
Sugar - 100ml
Butter - 250g

First clarify and brown your butter. Place the whole block in a small pan and place over a gentle heat. Just leave it alone, don't stir or shake it. After a while the milk solids will settle to the bottom of the pan and you will get a white foam form on the surface. Carefully skim the foam and discard. Turn up the heat and allow the butter to boil. You are trying to drive off the water content of the butter allowing the temperature to escalate and the butter to begin to burn. If you stop this burning process at the right stage the butter will have a delicious nutty taste. Keen an eye on the boiling butter as once the water has evaporated, the milk solids will begin to catch and brown on the bottom of the pan - this means you are nearly there. Keep skimming the foam from the surface and when the butter stops foaming remove from the heat. Carefully pour into another pan leaving the brown sediment behind - you should end up with a nutty brown clear butter with no foam or bits.

Next make the wine syrup, simply boil together the red wine, vinegar and sugar until reduced to a syrup the consistency of warm honey. Remove from the heat. Season and pan fry your monk tails in a tbsp of the clarified butter until coloured all over then finish off in a hot oven. They are cooked when the meat starts to peel away from the bone.

To finish the sauce simply stir the hot clarified butter into the hot wine syrup. It won't emulsify and you don't want it to. It looks great with the butter and wine splitting out on the plate. As for vegetables, I used a Jerusalem Artichoke puree as the base of the dish then layered blanched sprouts, cabbage and baby carrots, roasted parsnips and salsify.

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