What was that? Did I hear you all just begging me for another main meal recipe?
Well here I do not disappoint!
I know, I know… And the love and I have pledged to make something luxuriously sweet this weekend, but I won’t (can’t actually) apologise for the semi-predictability of late. Not here anyway, as this is special.
Although I have simplified and adapted the original recipe, it still takes a bit of work, but the flavours combine so perfectly to create a meal that is healthy and utterly worth it. It’s good mood food! I think it would be great for a dinner party or other special occasion as well, because well, monkfish is not cheap, and much of the dish can be prepared in advance, so stress-free entertaining and all that!
Of course, you could use other fish in its place, although I doubt you will find anything truly similar to monkfish. This was my first experience with it, and I’ve heard it’s meaty but I was still surprised at just how dense it actually is! I would recommend a white fish that isn’t too too delicate, like sea bass, haddock, halibut or cod.
I like to make the chermoula, prepare the pepper and parboil the potatoes when I have a minute earlier in the day – that way there is plenty of marinating time for the monkfish, and later on when you’re ready to eat it will only take about half an hour to complete 🙂
For the Chermoula:
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- good pinch of sea salt
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed, or ground cumin
- 1/2 fresh red chilli, deseeded and chopped
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp coriander and/or parsley, chopped
- Either bash everything together in a large pestle and mortar, or whiz in a food processor/blender!
For the Rest:
- 400g monkfish tail
- 250g small new potatoes
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- 1 green pepper, blackened, skinned and cut into strips (or use a few ready-roasted peppers from a jar!)
- handful of black olives
- 1/2 home-made preserved lemon (or 1 shop-bought), thinly sliced
- Rub most the chermoula (leaving about 1 tbsp for cooking) all over the fish, and place in a shallow dish to marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge, though I wouldn’t leave it overnight personally.
- Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, put the potatoes in a saucepan full of boiling, salted water and cook for about 10 minutes to soften them a little – you don’t want them fully cooked at this stage. Set aside.
- Heat a little oil in a tagine or heavy-based saucepan. Add the garlic and tomatoes, cooking over a medium heat until the garlic is browned and the tomatoes have softened a little. Add the pepper, preserved lemons, olives, potatoes and reserved chermoula, mixing everything together well.
- Finally, place the fish on top, pour in 100ml water, cover with a lid and steam for about 25 minutes until the fish is cooked through. You may want to serve this with couscous or good crusty bread to mop up the juices, and you may want to use less potatoes if you choose to do so – obviously personal choice!
I must finish with a cautionary tale! My first tagine had a very short life. I was so excited to use it that I neglected curing it before use. It’s not hard to do and many more tagines will have the opportunity to live fulfilling lives if this customary measure is carried out. Also, be patient when applying heat to the tagine. Don’t add hot food to a cold tagine or cold food to a hot tagine. When placing it on the hob or in the oven, start from a cool temperature and gradually increase. I feel I should start a campaign… ‘Tagine Care Awareness’? No? Okay, well this information would have helped me a few months ago anyway 🙂 enjoy!