Monkfish wrapped in pancetta with pickled mushroom dressing

Monkfish wrapped in pancetta with pickled mushroom dressing

Fish Kitchen
David Loftus

Monkfish has a lovely meaty texture and wrapping it in pancetta really enhances the flavour. I poach the fish first, to keep it moist, then pan-fry it to colour the bacon and give it that great roasted flavour. Pickled mushrooms for acidity, together with the sharp, sweet freshness from the grapes, work brilliantly with the salty bacon and succulent fish.


Quantity Ingredient
4 filleted portions monkfish, trimmed
12 thin slices smoked pancetta
1-2 tablespoons light rapeseed oil

Pickled mushroom dressing

Quantity Ingredient
100ml oaked chardonnay or similar white wine
50ml white wine vinegar
50g caster sugar
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons light rapeseed oil
200g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
100g shimeji mushrooms, left whole
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
100ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil
2 teaspoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
20 grapes, deseeded and quartered
cornish sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Wrap each monkfish portion in 3 pancetta slices, overlapping them slightly to enclose the fish, then overwrap in all-purpose cling film and tie the ends to ensure the parcels are watertight. Place in the fridge until ready to cook.
  2. To make the dressing, put the wine, wine vinegar and sugar in a pan over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar, then let bubble to reduce by half. Add half of the garlic and set aside.
  3. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add all the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute, then add the shallots and remaining garlic and cook for another minute. Pour in half the wine reduction, add the sherry vinegar and take off the heat. Set aside.
  4. Bring a wide, shallow pan of water to a simmer and add the wrapped monkfish parcels. When the water returns to a simmer, turn the heat right down and cook gently for 10 minutes. Lift the parcels out of the water and leave to rest, still wrapped in the cling film, for 4 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile heat a non-stick frying pan and add a good drizzle of oil. Remove the monkfish parcels from the cling film, saving all the juices; add these juices to the mushrooms. Pat the monkfish parcels dry with kitchen paper and place them in the hot pan. Cook for 2 minutes, turning the parcels so that they colour all over.
  6. Add the remaining wine reduction, rapeseed oil, parsley and grapes to the mushrooms and heat through. Taste for seasoning.
  7. Share the mushroom dressing between warm bowls. Halve the monkfish parcels and arrange on top of the mushrooms. Serve at once.
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