Monkfish With Kritharaki, Fennel & Orange

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IMG_8368One of my favourite fish is monkfish or angler fish. In Greece they call this fish peskandritsa and it usally is big, it’s fugly but it’s versatile and delicious. If you’re the type that doesn’t want to fuss with pin bones, no worries.

Monkifish is large, triangular with the the body tapering as you near the tail. The head is great for making fish stocks or using for soups and the meat of the fish is located on both sides of its tail. You get two fillets that resemble a pork tenderloin, firm meat that holds up well to heat and of course, rather delicious.IMG_8360

Monkish is ideal for pan-frying, grilling or roasting. Today I am sauteing/pan-frying the monkfish with some fennel/anise flavours, mustard powder and sweet paprika. The dish is served with a fave pasta of mine, Greek kritharaki…shaped like orzo.

The melange of veggies in the orzo are scallions, red peppers, fennel, eggplant and zucchini. The kritharaki are brought together with hot water and another fave, Greek tomato paste made by Kyknos of Nafplion.

When making the kritharaki, remember to toast the pasta so that it keeps its shape and doesn’t go mushy on you. The monkfish is finished with some red wine vinegar, unsalted butter and a squeeze of orange juice to balance the acidity. Fancy looking dish – none too hard.IMG_8365

Monkfish With Kritharaki, Fennel & Orange (Πεσκανδριτσα με Κριθαρακι,  Μαραθο & Πορτοκαλι)

(serves 4)

for the kritharaki

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 scallions, sliced

1/3 cup diced carrot

1/3 cup diced fennel

1/3 cup diced eggplant

1/3 cup diced red pepper

1 /3 cup diced zucchini

2 tsp. Kyknos tomato paste

1 cup Misko kritharaki (orzo)

2 1/2 cups hot water

salt and pepper to taste

for the monkfish

extra-virgin olive oil for rubbing on fish

mustard powder

sweet paprika

ground fennel

salt and fresh ground pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter

squeeze of orange juice

fennel fronds for garnish

  1. Remove the silverskin and rinse your monkfish tail and pat-dry then slice into 4 equal pieces. Rub the monkfish pieces with olive oil and sprinkle mustard powder, sweet paprika, salt, pepper and a little bit of ground fennel on each side. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, place a medium-sized pot on your stove and turn the heat to medium. Add the olive oil and add the scallions, carrots, fennel, eggplant with a pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for a minute then add the kritharaki (orzo) and stir constantly for 5 minutes to toast.
  3. Add the hot water, salt, pepper and cover. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until most of liquid has been absorbed. Add zucchini, adjust seasoning, cover and keep warm.
  4. Take your fish out of the fridge and allow about 5 minutes to come to room temperature. Place a large skillet on your stovetop and and turn the heat to medium-high. When the pan is hot add the monkfish and saute for 4 minutes or look at the fish sideways to see if the fillet is opaque halfway up. If so, flip and saute another 2 minutes.
  5. Add red wine vinegar and reduce for a couple of minutes. Add cold butter one Tbsp. at a time and swirl in. Squeeze the juice of half and orange and swirl, take off the heat.
  6. Place your meal by placing a mold on your plate and spoon the krithraki in it. Unmold and place the monkfish on top. Garnish with a fennel fronds and enjoy with a bottle of Chateau Mercouri Kallisto.


© 2013,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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