Mark Hix shares one of his favourite Monkfish recipes.
Cockles in vinegar in polystyrene pots bring back memories of being by the seaside. Fresh cockles, though, are sweet and delicious. Otherwise, use clams or more mussels instead. Monkfish is becoming increasingly expensive owing to the demand, but any firm white fish will work well here.
• 4 monkfish fillets, each about 200g
• Sea salt and freshly ground
• 1-2 tbsps vegetable or cold-pressed rapeseed oil
• 150g cockles or clams, rinsed
• 125g mussels, scrubbed and
any beards removed
• 50ml white wine
• 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 75g unsalted butter, diced
1 If the monkfish pieces are very thick, preheat the oven to 230°C/ Gas Mark 8 and heat a roasting pan.
2 Whatever their thickness, lightly season the monkfish with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a little oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and fry the fillets for about 3 minutes on each side, until they are nicely coloured. Transfer the very thick fillets to the hot roasting pan and finish cooking in the hot oven for a further 5-10 minutes, or until cooked.
3 Meanwhile, give the cockles and mussels a final rinse, discarding any mussels that stay open when given a sharp tap. Put them into a large pan with the white wine and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, until they open, shaking the pan frequently and giving them an occasional stir.
4 Drain in a colander, reserving the liquid, then pour the liquid back into the pan. Add the parsley and butter to the pan and keep stirring until the butter has melted.
5 Return the molluscs to the pan, discarding any that haven’t opened, adjust the seasoning and stir well.
6 To serve, carefully remove the monkfish from the pan with a fish slice and place on warm plates. Add the mussels and cockles, then spoon the parsley butter over the top.
Recipe taken from Mark Hix: The Collection (£20, Quadrille).