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Curried Monkfish with Mussels, Apple & Fennel

March 4, 2012

Monkfish has a wonderful, almost crunchy texture, something like shrimp. We have a short season in PEI grocery stores for buying monkfish fresh. I found some in our freezer which I know had been there awhile. Looks like it freezes well, because these were delicious.

Credit where due: we saw Gordon Ramsay on one of his shows prepare the dish which inspired this one.

Curried Monkfish with Mussels, Apple & Fennel

2 monkfish fillets
2 tsp curry powder
2 lbs mussels
few sprigs fresh thyme
bay leaf
1/3 cup white wine
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bulb fennel, julienned
2 apples, cored, skin on, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 tbsp maple syrup (cheap stuff will do fine)
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cream
olive oil, for frying

1. Prepare the mussels. Rinse, trim any beards you like, discard any open ones that won’t close when you tap them or submerge them in water. Put them in a hot saute pan with the thyme, bay leaf, and wine. Cover, cook, shaking them around occasionally so they redistribute and cook evenly. Cook until they’re open and almost approaching the texture / doneness you like. For this dish, that should be just after you see them all open wide.

2. Remove from heat. Strain and reserve the liquid. Depending on how you want to present these, I would either shell them, or remove half a shell from each (the half the mussel isn’t attached to, obviously). Set the mussels and the liquid aside.

3. Dry-fry the apples. Toss them in a warm pan and move them around quickly. You want to warm them up, but not brown them. Once they’re warm add the syrup and the vinegar. Mix them up, take the pan off the heat and set them aside.

4. Rub the monkfish fillets with salt and 1 tsp of the curry powder. Let them sit like this for about five minutes or so to draw out some of the liquid, then pat them dry.

5. While waiting on the fish, saute the shallot with the olive oil in a pan over medium heat for a minute or two, then add the garlic and cook a minute longer. Add the fennel and 1 tsp of the curry powder and continue cooking until the fennel is just beginning to soften, then add the reserved mussel liquid. Simmer while the liquid reduces to about two-thirds or until things look about right.

6. Meanwhile, toss the monkfish fillets a skillet (I really like cast iron) heated up to medium-high. Cook them until nice and brown on each side, about three minutes a side.

7. To the pan with the fennel add the shelled mussels, cooked apples and the cream and stir to warm. Serve with a baguette and enjoy.

We had this with a simple salad of greens, pear, gorgonzola and walnuts which went well. The dressing was a white wine vinaigrette with fresh lemon.

  1. Anything with a monkfish is a winner in my books – particularly if it is curried. So yummy. It’s a shame it is so expensive here.

    • The stuff I had in our freezer I bought when it was on sale ridiculously cheap. As my wife commented last night, this would also be good with halibut. Now that’s expensive.

  2. Truly delicious! You should post some of your vinaigrette recipes too!

  3. I will. I’m putting it off because I’ll have to measure how much of everything I put in. I’m thinking that will mess things up some how….

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