Monkfish with shellfish sauce and grilled leeks

Monkfish with shellfish sauce and grilled leeks

British Seafood
David Loftus

Monkfish cooked on the bone over charcoal has got to be up there with the greatest flavours I have ever tasted. Mitch Tonks and Mat Prowse at The Seahorse in Devon showed me how they cooked it one day, when I was visiting them. It was possibly the best fish I’ve ever tasted. This dish is inspired by that day, with a twist of my own – the shellfish sauce that’s been so faithful to me over the years.


Quantity Ingredient
4 monkfish tails on the bone, trimmed of sinew and skin
12 baby leeks or spring onions, washed and trimmed
olive oil, for cooking
2 baby gem lettuces, separated into leaves
cornish sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Shellfish sauce

Quantity Ingredient
750ml Roast fish stock
250ml Shellfish stock
5 ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
5 sprigs tarragon
pinch saffron strands
50g unsalted butter


  1. To make the shellfish sauce, pour both stocks into a large saucepan and add the tomatoes, tarragon, saffron and butter. Bring to a simmer and let bubble until reduced to about 200 ml. Tip the contents of the pan into a blender and blitz for 4 minutes. This will emulsify everything together, resulting in a velvety sauce. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as required. Allow to cool.
  2. Add the leeks or spring onions to a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately refresh in a bowl of iced water. Drain again and set aside.
  3. If cooking outdoors, light the barbecue well ahead. Otherwise heat your grill to medium-high just before cooking. Season the monkfish with salt and pepper and drizzle over a little oil. Cook for 5–6 minutes on each side, until the fish starts to come away from the bone.
  4. While the monkfish is cooking, season the leeks and barbecue or cook them on a hot griddle for 1 minute on each side to warm them through and give them a good colour. Gently heat up the shellfish sauce. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and lightly wilt down the baby gem lettuce.
  5. To serve, divide the wilted lettuce between 4 warmed plates. Spoon the shellfish sauce on next and then top with the monkfish and leeks.
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