I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Monkfish and Roasted Garlic Chickpea Fries

What a gorgeous, gorgeous spring we have been having. Today is especially beautiful. One of the best parts of this weather is the way it makes me feel inspired to be immensely productive. On cold, rainy, dreary days I want nothing more than to curl up on the couch with a book or a good movie, but the fresh, clean air and sunlight give me the energy and drive to get things done.

 My kitchen got a much needed spring cleaning. You don’t want to know how old some of the items in my cupboards were. How refreshing to finally have a bit more space and only usable, fresh products on the shelves.

The mild winter and lovely spring have made me stick with my running. I’ve been hitting 30 miles a week for most of the winter and closer to 35 the past few weeks. It’s been amazing coming into the spring fit and able to just work on bumping up the miles and the pace instead of having to regain lost fitness due to laziness or injury recovery as in years past.

I’ve also been consistently expanding my culinary horizons—cooking a lot, reading a ton, exploring cookbooks and blogs, constantly trying to create new meals and menus. And my New Year’s resolution to try something new in the kitchen every month led me in March to cooking up some monkfish fillets. The technique was nothing out of the ordinary or difficult, but it is an ingredient that I have never used and has always slightly scared me (I mean, have you seen those things whole? Terrifying. I just scared myself again looking at that picture).

However, one evening the husband and I were having a sushi dinner in our neighborhood and ordered the monkfish liver duo to try something different. It was delicious and led to a discussion about what the actual fish meat tasted like. The very next Saturday I discovered that the fishmonger at the greenmarket actually carries monkfish so decided it was time to find out.

The flavor is actually much milder than I expected—no overtly fishy tones. The meat is a heartier fish, much more like salmon or lobster. I think it would make a great gateway fish for those who don’t eat a lot of seafood.

In my research on how to cook the monkfish I found that Jamie Oliver suggests salting the fish and letting it sit in the fridge for an hour or so to leech out some of the milky liquid, which will help it to get a good sear on the outside (as opposed to essentially steaming in its own juices that would be released into the pan otherwise). Am not sure how big of a difference this makes, but the fish was flavorful all the way through, so it couldn’t hurt to do so yourself if for no other reason than to allow the salt to absorb. For an added burst of flavor I topped off our fillets with tart and garlicky mojo sauce, but it would be equally as delicious with a lemon-butter sauce as well. The chickpea fries were a creamy, pleasing accompaniment. 

Seared Monkfish with Mojo
2 servings

2 monkfish fillets
celery salt
salt and pepper
1 TB olive oil 
mojo recipe

Sprinkle the monkfish fillets with a bit of celery salt, salt and pepper. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about an hour to help draw out some of the moisture to help the fillets get a better sear.
Preheat oven to 425.

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet. Once hot, add the monkfish fillets, skin side down. Sear for a couple of minutes until browned and crispy on the skin side, then carefully flip over. Immediately turn off the heat on the stovetop and place the cast iron pan with fillets inside in the oven. Cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until the fish is completely cooked through. Serve topped with the mojo.

Roasted Garlic Chickpea Fries
serves 4
1 head roasted garlic*
1 c. chickpea flour
2 c. water
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained; optional
salt and pepper
cooking oil

*To make the roasted garlic: Cut the top 1/4" or so off of a whole head of garlic, exposing the cloves. Rub with a bit of olive oil and then wrap the whole head in foil. Cook in a 400 degree oven until tender, about 30-35 minutes.

Place the  chickpea flour, water, extra virgin olive oil and a bit of salt into a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Stir until just a little thick, but not dry, about 3-4 minutes and then remove from the heat. Squeeze in the roasted garlic cloves and add salt and pepper as necessary to season. If desired, add the 1/4 c. of whole chickpeas (crushed a bit with a fork) to the chickpea flour mixture if you would like a bit of added texture.
Spread this mixture into a 9X9" pan. Cover and refrigerate until set, at least an hour or up to overnight.
Cut the chickpea mixture into smaller shapes--rectangles, squares, triangles--whatever suits your fancy. Heat about 1" of cooking oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering and add a layer of the chickpea fries (do not overcrowd the pan. You will probably need to work in 2-3 batches). Cook until nicely browned and crispy on all sides, taking care when turning them as they are delicate. Once browned all over remove to a paper towel lined plate. Serve immediately.

1 comment:

That Girl said...

I'm so jealous of your nice weather. Here in "sunny California" it's been pouring down rain.