MONKFISH WITH SAFFRON CREAM SAUCE

THE MONKFISH NEVER WON ANY BEAUTY CONTESTS.  MUD-COLORED WITH A BULBOUS BODY, A STUMP OF A TAIL AND A GAPING MOUTH LINED WITH NEEDLE TEETH, IT LIES ON THE BOTTOM WAITING FOR ITS UNSUSPECTING PREY TO SWIM WITHIN RANGE AND THEN, SNAP! THE JAWS SPRING SHUT AND BYE-BYE LITTLE FISHY.  ITS WHITE, MUSCLED TAIL AND SWEET FLESH, HOWEVER, HAVE EARNED IT THE MONICKER AS THE POOR MAN'S LOBSTER.  INDEED, THE TEXTURE IS VERY MUCH LIKE LOBSTER BUT THE TASTE IS ITS OWN.  I CUT THE FILLETS INTO SERVING PORTIONS, BROWNED THEM IN BUTTER, THEN MADE A SAUCE WITH SLIVERED GARLIC, WHITE WINE, SAFFRON, AND CRÉME FRAÎCHE.  SERVED WITH STEAMED BABY FINGERLINGS AND A MÉLANGE OF BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND BROCCOLINI, IT MADE A SUBLIME MEAL.  

NOTE ABOUT SAFFRON:  THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR SAFFRON, WHICH I USED FOR SAUCES, RISOTTOS AND BRAISED CHICKEN.  SAFFRON IS EXPENSIVE BUT ONLY IF YOU BUY IT IN TINY QUANTITIES.  GO ONLINE AND YOU'LL FIND 1 OUNCE OF SPANISH SAFFRON FOR ABOUT
$40 AN OUNCE.  THAT'S A HELLUVA LOT OF SAFFRON.  I BOUGHT AN OUNCE A YEAR AGO, GAVE SOME AWAY AND I'VE STILL GOT PLENTY LEFT.  

 2 lbs MONKFISH FILLETS
 6 GARLIC CLOVES
 ½ cup WHITE WINE
 LARGE PINCH OF SAFFRON

1

CUT THE MONKFISH TAILS INTO PORTION-SIZED PIECES. DRY WITH PAPER TOWELS.

HEAT 3 OZS BUTTER AND A SPLASH OF VEGETABLE OIL IN A PAN OR AU GRATIN DISH.

WHEN THE BUTTER IS VERY HOT, SEASON THE MONKFISH WITH SALT AND PEPPER AND LAY IN THE PAN. BROWN ON BOTH SIDES.

MEANWHILE, TRIM AND PEEL 6 GARLIC CLOVES AND SLICE THINLY.

GRIND THE SAFFRON TO A POWDER WITH PINCH OF COURSE SALT IN A MORTOR AND PESTLE. POUR IN 1/2 CUP OF WHITE WINE.

INSERT THE BLADE OF A SHARP KNIFE IN THE CENTER OF THE MONKFISH FILLETS. TOUCH TO YOUR BOTTOM LIP. IF ITS WARM, THE FISH IS DONE. REMOVE TO A PLATE.

REDUCE THE HEAT. ADD THE GARLIC CLOVES AND COOK FOR 30 SECONDS, STIRRING.

ADD THE WHITE WINE AND SAFFRON. BRING TO A BOIL AND REDUCE BY HALF.

ADD ABOUT 3/4 CUP OF CRÉME FRAÎCHE. STIR INTO THE SAUCE.

REDUCE HEAT. RETURN THE MONKFISH TO THE PAN. TURN THE FILLETS A FEW TIMES TO COAT THEM WITH THE SAUCE.

SERVE WTH POTATOES, RICE OR ORZO PASTA.

SERVES 4

Ingredients

 2 lbs MONKFISH FILLETS
 6 GARLIC CLOVES
 ½ cup WHITE WINE
 LARGE PINCH OF SAFFRON

Directions

1

CUT THE MONKFISH TAILS INTO PORTION-SIZED PIECES. DRY WITH PAPER TOWELS.

HEAT 3 OZS BUTTER AND A SPLASH OF VEGETABLE OIL IN A PAN OR AU GRATIN DISH.

WHEN THE BUTTER IS VERY HOT, SEASON THE MONKFISH WITH SALT AND PEPPER AND LAY IN THE PAN. BROWN ON BOTH SIDES.

MEANWHILE, TRIM AND PEEL 6 GARLIC CLOVES AND SLICE THINLY.

GRIND THE SAFFRON TO A POWDER WITH PINCH OF COURSE SALT IN A MORTOR AND PESTLE. POUR IN 1/2 CUP OF WHITE WINE.

INSERT THE BLADE OF A SHARP KNIFE IN THE CENTER OF THE MONKFISH FILLETS. TOUCH TO YOUR BOTTOM LIP. IF ITS WARM, THE FISH IS DONE. REMOVE TO A PLATE.

REDUCE THE HEAT. ADD THE GARLIC CLOVES AND COOK FOR 30 SECONDS, STIRRING.

ADD THE WHITE WINE AND SAFFRON. BRING TO A BOIL AND REDUCE BY HALF.

ADD ABOUT 3/4 CUP OF CRÉME FRAÎCHE. STIR INTO THE SAUCE.

REDUCE HEAT. RETURN THE MONKFISH TO THE PAN. TURN THE FILLETS A FEW TIMES TO COAT THEM WITH THE SAUCE.

SERVE WTH POTATOES, RICE OR ORZO PASTA.

SERVES 4

MONKFISH WITH SAFFRON CREAM SAUCE
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