When I catch sight of beautiful monkfish fillets at my local store, I can never pass them by. The sweet flavor and dense texture of the fish somehow remind me of the meat in a lobster tail—ideal in a dish like this one. In this monkfish with ricotta stuffing recipe I like to stuff a mix of finely grated zucchini, fresh herbs and ricotta between the fillets and then wrap the roast between thin slices of prosciutto for a balance of flavors. Then I cook it en papillote so the ingredients steam in their own juices and the aromas mingle nicely. The clams on the side are a must, as is a piece of your favorite bread to soak up the sauce.
– 150g whole milk ricotta cheese
– 1/4 cup finely chopped zucchini
– 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
– 2 shallots, finely chopped
– 1 tbsp finely chopped basil
– Sea salt and pepper
– 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more to drizzle
– 24 littleneck clams
– 1 celery stalk, diced
– 2 lemon thyme or thyme sprigs
– 120ml dry white wine or white vermouth
– 1 1/2 tbsp heavy cream
– 4 slices prosciutto
– 2 equal-size pieces monkfish (280g each)
– 2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced (makes 8 to 10 slices)
– 1 long parsley sprig
1. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta with the zucchini, parsley, half of the shallots, and basil. Add a dash of sea salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon olive oil; set aside.
2. Brush the clams under cold water to remove any remaining sand; set aside.
3. In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the celery, the rest of the shallots, and the lemon thyme; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, without browning, until soft. Add the clams and white wine, and cover.
4. Increase the heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until all the clams are open. Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream—you will reheat the clams close to the time you serve them.
5. Preheat the oven to 420°F (215°C). Cut a 15-by-20-inch (38 by 51 cm) piece of parchment paper and three or four 14-inch (35.5 cm) pieces of string (long enough to tie around the roast). Drizzle the parchment paper with olive oil.
6. Arrange the strings across the parchment parallel to you and equally spaced to the length of the fish. Place a slice of prosciutto along each string. Top with the first piece of monkfish, perpendicular to you and across all four strings.
7. Season with sea salt and pepper; spread half the ricotta mixture on top. Top with half the tomato slices and the rest of the ricotta. Top with the other piece of fish.
8. Wrap the prosciutto around the fish and top with the rest of the tomato slices. Lay the parsley across the top, and tie each string so the roast is tightly closed.
9. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the clam sauce and olive oil. Lift the wider edges of the paper and fold them over the top of the roast. Crimp the side edges by pleating them over and over, or secure with string. Leave enough space between the ingredients and the edge of the paper for the pouch to puff.
10. Set the parcel in a rimmed baking sheet or a baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes.
11. Remove from the oven, open the papillote, and slice the roast into thick pieces. Serve with the reserved clams and sauce; oven roasted sweet potatoes; and a grain such as black rice.
In her signature style of blending classically French dishes with exotic, modern twists, food stylist and photographer Beatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmade offers up recipes for each meal of the day plus the traditional French goûter (afternoon snack). Peltre ups the ante on what gluten-free foods can be—incredibly tasty, beautiful, and nourishing. Whole grains, colorful produce, spices, and creative use of ingredients abound. Peltre’s bright photography, impeccable styling, and sweet storytelling bring the book to life. All these elements come together to create an inspiring collection of recipes for feeding a family and feeding them well.
From My French Family Table by Beatrice Peltre © 2016 by Beatrice Peltre. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com.