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Friday, 22 January 2016

Monkfish Tail wrapped in Serrano Ham with Mussels and Pasta

Until recently monkfish was not widely used.  It is an incredibly ugly fish with an enormous head full of razor sharp teeth - but the tail, oh the tail is wonderful eating!  And more recently we have started eating the cheeks from the head which like cod cheeks are beautiful and tender.

This particular dish uses the monkfish tail still on the bone to give extra flavour and wrapped in serrano ham then roasted in the oven.  The sauce is made with fresh mussels, garlic, wine, tomato and a splash of cream.  I like to serve the dish with pasta but the options are endless.

It is possible to buy good quality frozen monkfish tails but if possible you are so much better buying fresh. The fresh tail normally has the skin attached, this can be easily removed by literally pulling it towards the end of the tail.  Alternatively, ask your fish monger to do this for you.

Once you have removed the skin run your knife down either side of the bone before wrapping the ham round it. This helps allow the heat into the fish while cooking.

Wrap the ham round the fish, lightly oil with some olive oil and place in a pre-heated oven at about 200C.

The monkfish will take about 12 minutes to cook. To check that the fish is cooked squeeze it gently with thumb and forefinger at the meatiest part.  The flesh should feel firm and slightly springy.  Properly cooked monkfish should be tender and moist, if it is overcooked it will dry out.

While the monkfish is in the oven you can cook the pasta.  If you want to make your own pasta here is a recipe Click Here

When you take the monkfish from the oven set it to one side and allow it rest like you would a piece of meat.  The juices that run out can be added to the sauce giving some extra flavour.

To make the sauce.  Put a knob of butter, a chopped clove of garlic and some fresh mussels in a pan over a high heat.  As the mussels start opening add a glass of dry white wine.  Let the wine reduce, add a couple of spoonsfull of tinned chopped tomatoes, some cherry toms, the juices from the monkfish and a splash of cream.  Bring the whole lot to the boil and let thicken slightly.  Check the seasoning and add salt if required. The mussels can be removed once they have opened before over cooking them. Discard any mussels that do not open.

To serve slice the fish down either side of the bone and arrange the fillets on a plate with the mussels and pasta and top off with plenty of sauce.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Oxtail Terrine

Oxtail terrine served with a poached quail egg - delicious!  As I have said before I like to use as much of an animal as possible and not just the classy, expensive cuts.  There is a surprising amount of meat on an oxtail and it is also full of flavour.

If you can, buy your oxtail ready cut into pieces.  If you buy a full tail it is pretty easy to cut into manageable pieces by cutting through the "knuckle" pieces along the tail.

To make a terrine for 4 people;
1 oxtail
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots chopped
1 head celery chopped
2-3 bay leaves
1 glass dry white wine
 Start by browning the oxtail pieces in a heavy bottomed pan over a high heat.
Remove the oxtail from the pan and start cooking the vegetable (mirepoix) scraping as much of the meat residue from the bottom of the pan.  Add the oxtail back in to the pan with the wine.  Let the wine reduce until almost nothing remains, then add enough cold water to cover the oxtail.
Bring the water to the boil then reduce the heat to only a simmer and leave simmering for approximately 4 hours, or until the meat starts to fall off the bone.  Check that the water level does not boil dry and, if necessary, top up with cold water only.
Once the meat has cooked and is tender remove the oxtail pieces from the pan and strip the meat from the bones.  Season the meat with salt and pepper and stir through a spoonful of dijon mustard.
Line your terrine mould with cling film and fill with the shredded meat.  Cover and press down the meat evenly to form the terrine.  Refrigerate, preferably with a light weight pressing evenly, until cool.
Once the terrine has set remove the weight and when you are ready slice the terrine and serve with salad garnish and poached quail eggs and drizzle with vinaigrette.