Monkfish with Chive Risotto and Crispy Leaks

If you don’t have monkfish, this works well with any firm-textured fish.

What you need

For the monkfish
  • 4 pieces of monkfish, each about 180g
  • 1 large leek (white only)
  • 10g flour, for frying leeks
  • About 500ml vegetable oil
  • Rock salt, black pepper
  • 50g butter, clarified
For the risotto
  • About 350ml vegetable stock
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 100g shallot
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 85g butter
  • Rock salt, black pepper
  • Rocket essence
  • Pea shoots, to garnish (optional)

What to do

Risotto

  1. Bring the stock to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Reduce heat and allow to simmer gently. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the shallot and, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon, cook until it softens and becomes translucent.
  2. Add the rice and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, making sure that every grain is coated with oil. Add half the stock and stir until absorbed. Continue adding the stock a little at a time, stirring frequently and making sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding more.
  3. When most of the stock has been added, test a grain of rice. The risotto is ready when the rice is just tender and creamy, but still ‘al dente’, with a little bite to it. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, salt and pepper to taste. Stir vigorously for about 30 seconds to give a creamy, glossy finish to the risotto.

Monkfish

  1. Place the monkfish on a plate lined with a paper towel and refrigerate until it’s time to cook.
  2. Julienne the leeks (cut them into very thin, finger-length strips), place in a bowl  and coat with flour.
  3. Pour the oil in a pan – you will need about 2cm depth – and, when hot, add the leeks. Deep-fry until golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. Season with salt and leave to dry. Preheat oven to 180⁰C.
  4. Heat the clarified butter in a frying pan. Place the monkfish on the pan and colour until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and season. Place on a wire rack in a roasting tray and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. While the monkfish is cooking, prepare the risotto. Stir in the chives at the end. Prepare the rocket essence if using.
  6. Drizzle the serving plates with rocket essence. Place a portion of risotto on each of the serving plates, with a nest of crispy leeks on top. Put the monkfish alongside the risotto.

Rocket Essence

What you need
  • 100g rocket
  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil
What to do
  1. Blanch the rocket in a pan of boiling water for a few seconds then immediately refresh in iced water. Add the olive and blitz in a blender for 10 minutes. Season to taste.

Clarified butter

  1. Place the butter in a small dish in the microwave on a low heat for about 3-4 minutes. Do not stir.
  2. Skim off any impurities, then decant the oil from the top, leaving behind the whey. This is your clarified butter.
  3. This can be done over gentle heat in a pan, but a microwave works best as it can be hard to avoid burning the butter on the hob.
Try it with this wine:

Monkfish typically pairs well with Chardonnay and other full flavoured whites. Try something a little different – a Clairette from the Cote du Rhone. Full, ripe and peachy, but with a lovely citrus freshness on the palate to balance the richness of the dish.