No-fuss fish: Monkfish tagine
This stew is an unctuous embodiment of autumn, with warm spices and beautiful tones of gold and green. The firm and meaty fish holds its shape in a slow stew and works wonderfully with the sweet and sour flavours. Try toasting some blanched almonds, then chopping to scatter over the top as a finishing touch. If you don’t have an apple or prunes, you can try using a pear or raisins instead.
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
60g unsalted butter
large handful fresh coriander, stalks and leaves roughly chopped
2 tsp ground ginger
pinch of saffron
1 cinnamon stick
1½ preserved lemons (about 35g), flesh discarded, finely chopped
100ml fish stock
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into small pieces (roughly 1.5cm)
400g can chickpeas, drained
40g prunes, roughly chopped
250g chard or spinach (baby spinach can be used but large leaf spinach is best), washed and chopped
600g piece monkfish fillet, cut into 6cm chunks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
bread or couscous, to serve
- Preheat your oven to 220C/fan 00C/gas 7. Pop the onion and garlic into a medium-sized roasting tin, dot over the butter and slip into the oven for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the onion and garlic are softening and turning golden at the edges.
- Remove the roasting tin from the oven and mix in the coriander, ginger, saffron and cinnamon stick. Return to the oven for about 3 minutes, then remove once again and stir in the preserved lemons, stock, apple, chickpeas and prunes. Season and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove the roasting tin from the oven and stir in the chard or spinach and monkfish, then cover with foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/fan160C/gas 4 and return the tin to the oven for a final 10–12 minutes. When it’s ready, the chard or spinach will have wilted and made the tagine nice and saucy, and the fish should be opaque. Serve with bread or buttery couscous.
ALSO WORKS WELL WITH Any firm white fish, such as haddock, cod, pollock or hake.