Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Pan-Roasted Monkfish in Spicy Tomato Broth

The monkfish won’t win any beauty contests but it may place first in a flavor bout or two. This not-so-attractive critter—typically found in waters off western Europe—has tiny eyes set in a huge head and needle-like teeth, with most (or all) of the edible meat in its tail. And that meat makes some fine eating.

Boneless monkfish meat is very firm and dense, but the flavor is mild, sweet, and delicate, similar to sea scallops or lobster. The pieces of the tail are generally thick—around two inches—so it takes longer to cook this fish than most others. Plan for 8-10 minutes per inch, depending on the cooking method. Here, I pan-roasted the it to add a little golden crust to the outside while keeping the inside tender. A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet works great.

To complement the mild flavor of the monkfish, I made a quick, bold-flavored, tomato-based sauce to set it in. Top it with a few crunchy nuts and fresh scallions for a texture boost, and dinner is served.  

Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 1-1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar, divided
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne chile powder
  • sea salt
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 8-oz piece of monkfish (about 2 inches thick), halved crosswise
  1. Combine the tomatoes, broth, wine, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and cayenne in a small food processor and processor until smooth. Transfer to a small skillet and bring to a light simmer over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and keep warm.
  2. Combine the scallion, peanuts, parsley, 1 teaspoon oil, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Broth Mixture 
Scallion Mixture
  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Season the monkfish with salt and pepper and sear until lightly charred on the bottom, 4 minutes. 
  2. Turn the fish and place the pan in the oven. Roast until tender and just cooked through, 13-14 minutes, depending on thickness.
Fish Beginning to Cook 
After Turning
Pan-Roasted Monkfish
Divide the tomato broth between 2 shallow bowls. Place one piece of fish in each bowl and divide the scallion mixture on top. Serve right away.

Pan-Roasted Monkfish in Spicy Tomato Broth

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