Poor man's lobster. That's how this humble fish is often described. The meat from the monkfish tail is sweet, delicate and quite firm, and has a mild shellfish flavour because crustaceans are in fact, a large part of the monkfish's diet. Often served as a whole filet, Pan Fried Monkfish Medallions are an elegant way to prepare this delicious misunderstood fish. Served on a pillow of puréed cauliflower and a nest of wilted spinach, the medallions are dredged in some seasoned flour, and quickly pan fried in a little olive oil and butter. Garnished with a drizzle of tangy Lemon Caper Butter Sauce, this easy recipe is big on flavour, relatively low in calories and makes an elegant and refined entrée.
Pan Fried Monkfish Medallions with Cauliflower Purée & Wilted Spinach
1 head of cauliflower
1/4 tsp salt & white pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp whole milk or cream
Lemon Caper Butter Sauce:
4 tbsp butter
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 lemon, zested
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and minced
1 Monkfish tail
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt and white pepper to taste
1 bunch of fresh baby spinach
Break the cauliflower into florets and steam until very tender, about 10-15 minutes. Once cooked, place the cauliflower in a cuisineart blender with butter, salt and pepper, and process until very smooth. Add 1 tbsp of milk or cream to loosen the purée, if necessary. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and keep warm over low heat until required.
For the sauce, melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the juice of half a lemon, zest of one lemon, minced capers and chopped parsley, and stir to combine. Set aside and cover, over low heat. In a large pot, cook the spinach with a little water until just wilted. Let the water cook off, then add 1 tbsp of butter, a little salt and white pepper, and allow the spinach and warm through.
Rinse monkfish and pat dry with paper towels. Cut each fillet crosswise into 1/2-inch thick medallions. Dredge the fish in a seasoned flour mixture of flour, paprika, salt and pepper, coating all sides and shaking off the excess. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat-high and cook the monkfish medallions until lightly browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and allow to rest in a warm place, or tent under foil until ready.
To plate the dish, spread 2 cups of cauliflower purée into the centre of each warmed dinner plate, shaped into a long puddle. Top the purée with wilted spinach, then place the monkfish medallions overtop. Garnish with a light drizzle of lemon caper butter sauce, and finish with a final flourish of sauce around the perimeter of the plate. Serve immediately.