My preferred cuisine to cook these days is Mediterranean. Not only is it my heritage, but I enjoy the pairing of bitter and sweet, and the liberal use of alcohol in my cooking. Spanish Cuisine meets both of these goals admirably. Braising is a fantastic technique, because it loosely translates to letting food sit in alcohol on low heat for variable times. I picture my dinner getting drunk at a bar, then taking a siesta in my stomach.
So todays lunch consisted of a quick and easy braise of monkfish, which is occasionally referred to as the “poor mans lobster” for its meaty buttery flavor, although given the prices of monkfish these days, that is a blatant lie. However, you do get the taste without having to deal with the shell of a sea cockroach, so the trade off is worth it.
We begin by playing the usual game of refridgerator roulette for produce. Today’s winners: baby portabella mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, onions, garlic, and almonds. To Add to the spanish flavor I used sherry and a touch of white wine, and my favorite bottle of greek olive oil, which will shortly need to be replaced
The initial recipe I found, linked here called for 2tbsp of olive oil, a full chopped onion and bell peppers to be cooked on medium heat until the onions are soft. Having no peppers, I subsituted mushrooms, and cooked it until the frozen onions began to caramelize/brown. Next I added the garlic and about 1/3 cup sherry with a splash of white wine, letting it continue to simmer at medium heat for about one minute to sear those flavors into my produce.
You could, at this point add a cup of bottled clam juice, or if you have none available, feel free to skip this step entirely and let the whole dish simmer covered on low heat for 5-10 minutes depending on your available liquid in the pan.
Next, add the monkfish! Along with salt and pepper to taste, I used about 1/2 teaspoon of each, and a handful of tomatoes for color, along with some almonds for texture, because I watch too many cooking shows and find that balance of food sensations necessary. Then, cover it back up and simmer on low heat for another 10-12 minutes or until your fish is flaky and white the whole way through
Voila! 20 minutes for great seafood lunch that would go perfectly over rice or pasta, or in my case, by itself. If you want it to look more appealing, use something red like peppers or tomatoes. If monkfish is too expensive for you, you can also subsitute cod, haddock, or any firm whitefish just for the halibut.
Local produce, Exotic Profile, Easy prep and cooking…I have to say this dish was
Truly, A Great Ingestion.