I love this time of the year, when the wild garlic and asparagus seasons collide for a few glorious weeks. The local fishermen start going at it full pelt and the Irish growers are getting excited as their crops start sprouting their little heads up to soak up the spring sun.
This is a light, very simple one pan wonder that just needs a few simple things simply cooked. The juices from the pan and the natural juices from the clams will bring a lovely sweet brininess to the dish.
The most important thing is to get the freshest monkfish that you can, still on the bone – ask your fishmonger to slice it into 2cm medallions for you – we’re going to cook these up just like a steak.
– 600g Monkfish medallions on the bone
– 350g Clams (make sure they’re tightly closed, discard any open ones)
– 2 shallots, thinly sliced
– 16 spears of Asparagus (try to hunt out the Drummond house Irish asparagus – it’s whopper! Bend the spears near the stump and they will naturally break at the point where it’s nice and tender, rather than woody, about ¾ of the way down usually_
– A handful of 60g wild garlic leaves, finely shredded
– 4 mint leaves
– 12 sprigs of chervil
– 150ml cream
– 100ml dry white wine
– Juice of 1 lime
– Knob of butter
– ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
– Salt to taste. Decent salt is definitely worth the extra few cents and Achill Island do a wicked good sea salt
– Small glug of vegetable oil for cooking
1. Firstly, get a nice thick bottomed pan nice and hot and while it’s heating up, dry your monkfish on a paper towel and season it with salt – the dryer the fish, the better the glaze.
2. Pour the oil in the pan and once it’s hot, add the monkfish. Now, just like a steak, hold fire before turning it (we want a good sear on it), about 2-3 mins should do. Then flip the monkfish over and give it 1 minute on the other side.
3. Remove monkfish and set aside in a dish that will keep any juices (we’ll use these juices for the sauce later).
4. Add the shallots into the same pan. There’s no need to clean it as it’s all flavour, just like making a gravy from the crispy bits.
5. Sweat the shallots gently in the oil left in the pan, then add the wine and reduce the wine by just over half.
6. Now add the cream, asparagus and clams and reduce by half too. This should take about 3-4 minutes, which is about the time it takes to cook the asparagus and open the clams.
7. Now add the shredded wild garlic, mint, lime juice, butter, dijon and any juices from your monkfish plate and whisk it all up.
8. Check the seasoning. It will probably need a touch of salt, maybe just maybe a spoon of honey depending on which wine was used, but you can decide for yourself.
9. Pop the monkfish back in to the sauce for a few seconds to warm through and serve into a pasta-type wide bowl, asparagus as the base, your veloute over that and your monkfish proudly standing on top.
10. Garnish with the chervil and serve with some crusty bread.
With chef Gaz Smith at the helm, Michael’s Mount Merrion is the place to be for great seafood in Dublin. Honest, fresh and simple, Gaz prides himself on bringing the finest and freshest seafood to the table. Using local Wicklow boats to source the freshest shellfish and seafood, Michael’s serves beautifully cooked treasures of the deep like Crab Claws, which are caught in small boats and delivered to the restaurant the same day. Gaz is so passionate about Irish seafood that he has made it his business to encourage kids to try it, from gathering to cooking and devouring.