Monkfish wrapped in Pancetta

Summer is the season for fresh fish and seafood, here with an Italian touch. Monkfish has a firm flesh that allows it to be cooked as a roast. This recipe can be found in my book “à table, whisky from glass to plate”.

Serves 6

For the fish
1,2 kg monkfish (skinned and cut into 6 pieces)
12 rashers of pancetta
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp grain mustard
3 tbsp chopped parsley
2 fennel leaves
sprig of thyme
ground black pepper, pinch of chili
1 shallot (finely chopped)
For the sauce
1 fennel bulb
2 tbsp double cream
juice of half a lemon
salt, ground black pepper
2 tbsp whisky

Preheat the oven (210°C – Gas mark 6/7). Chop the shallot and two fennel leaves. Place in a greased oven dish with the thyme. Open each piece of monkfish down the middle. Mix the spices, the olive oil, the mustard and the parsley. Spread a tablespoon of the mixture on the monkfish. Close and wrap each piece with two rashers of pancetta. Place in the dish and cook for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the fennel bulb into 4 pieces and cook it for 10 minutes in salted boiling water. Blend the fennel with a little cooking water. Add the cream and the lemon juice. Reduce over high heat until a velouté sauce texture is achieved. Then add the whisky, season and keep warm.

Place a piece of monkfish on each plate, spoon the fennel coulis around. Serve with boiled potatoes or rice.

The pairing
The aniseed flavour of the dish speaks out for a bourbon cask matured whisky. A double maturation, with a light touch of sherry will enhance the meaty touch of the pancetta. Glenmorangie Lasanta 12 Year Old, Asyla (Compass Box), Glen Grant 12 Year old, Oban Distillers Edition

Leave a comment