Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pan Roasted Monkfish, Apple & Lime Puree, Fennel & Lemongrass Sauce

I love fish and I love this combination. The lime/apple puree is zingy with a little sweetness and cuts through the richness of the lemongrass sauce. The fennel has a nice aniseed flavour that always works with fish.

This dish would also work really well with sea bass. Skip the salting step for the sea bass.

Go on try something different and tickle your pallet.

Pan Roasted Monkfish, Apple & Lime Puree, Fennel & Lemongrass Sauce

By Trevor Thornton

Serves 2

Difficulty Moderate - Hard

Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
2 x 150g pieces of monkfish tail, cleaned and prepared
3 tbsp rock salt
Apple & Lime Puree
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cubed
2 limes, zest & juice
10g caster sugar
1 bulb of fennel
Lemongrass Sauce
50ml Pernod/Noilly Pratt
200ml fish/chicken stock
100ml cream
2 lemongrass stalks, crushed and chopped
1 lemon, juice only


“Mise en Place”

Firstly you have to salt the monkfish to remove most of the water from the fish. There is a lot of excess water in a monkfish tail and it’s best to remove it before cooking. Sprinkle the cleaned monkfish tail pieces with the rock salt. Place into a dish and set aside in the fridge for 40 minutes. Remove from the fridge and wash each fillet under cold running water to remove the excess salt. Pat completely dry with kitchen paper and place back into the fridge.

For the apple and lime puree place the apples, sugar, lime zest and juice into a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Cook for 6-8 minutes with the lid on. The apples are done when they are soft. Blend the apples with a stick blender until really smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the lemongrass sauce, place a saucepan over a medium – high heat and add the Pernod. Boil the alcohol until there is only a tiny bit left. Add the fish/chicken stock into the saucepan and reduce by half. Add the cream with the lemongrass stalks and reduce by a further two thirds. Add the lemon juice to taste and season with salt and pepper. Its best to season with white pepper as the sauce is white. Place the lemongrass sauce into a food processor and blend to a smooth puree. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve and set aside. Cover with a lid to stop a skin forming if you are making it in advance.

For the fennel, remove the hard outer skin and top and tail the bulb. Remove the hard core with a sharp knife. Slice the fennel as thin as you can. Its best to use a mandolin. Cook in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Remove from the water and place into iced water to stop the cooking. Remove from the iced water after a few minutes and pat dry and set aside.


Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Make sure the pan is on for 2-3 minutes to heat up. Season the monkfish with a small bit of salt and some pepper. Put 2 tbsp of olive oil into the pan and place the monkfish into the pan and cook for 1 minute without moving the fish around. This will develop a nice brown colour on that side. Repeat this on all 4 sides. Cook each end of the monkfish fillet for 30 seconds aside. This will give a total cooking time of 5 minutes. Add 3 tbsp of butter to the pan and let the butter foam. Lap the fish with the hot butter for another minute. Remove the monkfish from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Reheat the apple puree and lemongrass sauce. Place the sliced fennel into a saucepan with a tbsp of butter. Reheat slowly and season with salt and pepper.

To serve place a dessert spoon of the apple puree onto a plate and run the spoon through it. Place the fennel on top and follow with the monkfish. Drizzle with the lemongrass sauce and serve!