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Monkfish Cheeks, Spinach, Tomatoes & Bacon Lardons (gf)

THIS fantastic fish normally costs a fortune so is out of a lot of people price range, however Monkfish Cheeks are a lot cheaper and in mine and many chefs opinions they are way nicer.
Ask your fishmonger if they have them, if not then ask them to order them in for you.
There is a thin membrane on the cheeks which must be removed or it make the fish tough when cooked. It is dead simple to do. I suggest you ask your fishmonger to do it if you are unsure.
You can use any meaty white fish for this dish, cod or hake would be great as would seabass fillets or even chicken or steak pieces.




Allergens : Gluten & Lactose Free Methods Included

Monkfish Cheeks – 12

Baby Spinach leaves – 2 Good Handfuls

Cherry Tomatoes – 12 – 16

Bacon Lardons – 150g

Fresh Basil Leaves – 15 – 20

Donegal Rapeseed Oil Garlic – 2 tbsp

Donegal Rapeseed Oil Chilli – 2 – 3 tbsp

Or 1 garlic clove and 1/4 red chilli and plain Rapeseed oil

Cracked Black Pepper from a mill – Pinch

Plain Flour (optional) – 25g

Salt – Pinch

White Wine (optional) – 3 tbsp

Baby New Potatoes – 12

Red Onion – 1/2 thinly slices

Lemon – 2 wedges & zest of 1/4




You will need – 1 Pan, 1 sharp knife, 1 seafood chopping board (blue), 1 sharp knife, 1 small pot, 1 fork


Half fill the pot with water then put it on to boil, it is cheaper to boil the kettle and use that instead.


Place the potatoes in the pot (new potatoes always go into boiling water) then cook for about 10 – 15 minutes. Check to see if they are cooked by piercing one with a fork.


Remove the thin membrane from the fish if you haven’t got the fishmonger to do it already. It is a thin layer of skin like stuff that coats the cheeks. Using a sharp knife slide it between the fish and membrane then gently cut it away by sliding the knife sideways. You need a really sharp knife to so this.


(optional) Place the flour in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt, then roll to monkfish in the flour and set aside.


Wash the spinach if you haven’t done so already, set aside to dry.


Heat 1 tbsp of each of the oils on the pan then add the bacon lardons and fry till almost crispy, add the spinach then the chilli and garlic if using them. Cook until the spinach has wilted then add the basil leaves keeping 4 leaves back for garnish (see pics), cook for 1 minute more.


Add the white wine if using it, watch out for splashes and it could flame if using gas so do it away from the heat if so, reduce for 1 minute (heat till the wine almost evaporates)


Add the cherry tomatoes, lemon zest and sliced red onion, salt and pepper. Cook for a further minute or maybe two.


Remove all this and place into a bowl. Set to one side.


Place the pan back on the heat then add 1 tbsp of each of the oils, when hot place the monkfish on the pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side.


Remove and place on a warm plate then pour the spinach etc from the bowl back onto the pan and heat for 1 minute.


I served mine in a bowl, you can use a plate if you prefer.


Place half of the mix from the pan in the center of the bowls or plates (2) then dot the cooked monkfish around followed by the baby new potatoes.


Drizzle the remaining chilli oil around the each, top with the remaining basil leaves and a lemon wedge.


Enjoy with a nice glass of white wine or a light beer.

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