Serves: 6

This is such a wonderful dish. It is so fresh, letting the seafood and the sauce do the work, and looks just amazing when dished and then plated in front of everyone. I served this with Andalusian Pork, a Moroccan salad and an enormous bowl of crusty bread.

I substituted bass for monkfish (I briefly thought about crayfish meat) and flounder for the halibut, though halibut can be found at the markets and I have had monkfish in Australia, albeit in a restaurant and imported from NZ.

Ingredients

7 tbsp olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 large, ripe tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and finely chopped
½tsp paprika
2 thin slices of bread, crusts removed
4 almonds, toasted and skinned
3 garlic cloves, peeled
100g thick cod fillet, skinned
100g monkfish fillet, skinned
100g halibut fillet, skinned
1½ tbsp plain flour
100g prepared squid, sliced
8 raw tiger prawns
16 mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
8 large clams, scrubbed
100ml Spanish brandy or other inexpensive brandy
150ml dry white wine
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
crusty bread, to serve

Monkfish

  1. Heat three tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and sauté slowly until light golden. Add the tomatoes and paprika and cook over a low heat until the oil separates from the vegetables and appears on the surface. Put to one side.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a separate frying pan, add the bread and fry on both sides until golden. Place in a mortar with the almonds, two cloves of garlic and one tablespoon of olive oil. Pound together to a fine paste, then set aside.
  3. Season the fish and dust with the flour, shaking off any excess. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the fish in it separately – first the cod, then the monkfish, halibut, squid and prawns. As each is cooked, transfer to a large casserole.
  4. Add the mussels and clams to the casserole. Chop the remaining clove of garlic and stir it into the casserole dish. Put over a low heat, pour the brandy over the fish and heat gently, then set it alight, standing well back.
  5. When the flames have died down, stir in the reserved tomato mixture, followed by the white wine and just enough hot water to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about four minutes, until the mussels and clams have opened. Discard any that remain closed.
  6. Mix in the reserved bread paste to thicken the sauce, then add the parsley. Season to taste. Serve in large bowls, accompanied by crusty bread.

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