Every so often, after I’ve fed Patrick his dinner, he comes back in, grabs me by the shoulders, and says “WRITE THAT ONE DOWN.” Last time he did that was when I came up with bacon and egg soup. Tonight we had fish.
Monkfish with saffron and roe
1-1/2 - 2 lbs. monkfish (2-3 good fillets)
fresh flying fish roe
1 small pinch saffron
1 can Campbell’s chicken broth
1 packet unflavored gelatin
1/2 stick of butter
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch fresh cilentro
1/3 - 1/2 C. finely chopped fresh bell peppers, in colors
1/2 cup or less sour cream, cre8me fraiche, clotted cream, whatever
black pepper, white pepper, paprika
Wash your fillets and pat them dry. Salt them lightly all over.
Take the pinch of saffron and crumble it between your fingers into half a coffee mug of hot water. Nuke it a bit, give it a stir, and let it sit until the water turns golden-orange and reeks of saffron.
Put one can of chicken broth into a shallow saucepan and get it simmering. Add the saffron and water. Sprinkle in the gelatin and stir until it dissolves. Add the pepper, paprika, and half the butter. Peel and mash the garlic cloves and throw them in too. Let it boil until it starts thickening just a bit, then throw in the other half of the butter. Let that simmer too.
Now lay in the monkfish fillets and let them simmer in the broth. Turn them over every so often. While this is going on, chop up the green onions. Throw the white part into the pan and save the green part for later. Chop up the cilentro and throw it in too, and all but a little of the bell pepper. Keep turning the fish.
Meanwhile, take your clotted/fraiche/sour cream, stir it up so it’s smooth, and gently spoon the roe on top of it. Stir it until the two are marbled together, but not so much that it’s like a homogenous chip dip.
Just before the fish is done, throw in some of the green parts of the chopped green onions plus maybe a quarter-cup or less of lightly chopped green olives.
Gently remove a cooked fillet to a soup plate. Spoon some of the stuff out of the pan on top of it and around it. Now spoon a good wallop of sour cream plus fish roe down the middle. Sprinkle a scant handful of chopped green onions on top of that, plus a light sprinkling of chopped bell pepper, plus another little dollop of fish roe. Serve fast.
This is colorful food.