Pan roast monkfish with spring greens and devilled shrimps

This dish is the fish course on the latest menu at The River Room, Galgorm. It consists of some lightly cooked local spring greens with slices of monkfish tail carved on top and is served with a complex sauce which is slightly spiced with citrus and herb flavours. Brown shrimps are warmed through in the sauce. This is perfect as a light main course on a summer’s day. Some boiled and dressed jersey royal potatoes are an excellent accompaniment.

Ingredients - Serves 4:

  • 100g brown shrimps

  • 800-1kg piece of monkfish (all our fish can be bought at Ewings fishmongers in Belfast)

  • 100g fresh peas

  • 100g broad beans

  • 2 heads of gem lettuce

  • 50g samphire

  • 100g butter for cooking

  • 1tbsp oil

  • Season with salt

For the sauce:

  • 200ml fish stock

  • 100ml white wine

  • 100g butter

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 4 anchovy fillets

  • 1 large shallot

  • Juice + zest of an orange

  • 1 tbsp of capers

  • 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper

  • 3 tbsp of freshly ground nutmeg

  • A splash of Worchester sauce

  • Pinch or 2 of chopped chives and parsley

  • 100g finely diced cucumber

Method

For the sauce:

Firstly, make a butter by blending all of the ingredients in a food processor, (except the stock, wine, herbs and cucumber) until a paste is achieved. Mix the paste with the butter at room temperature then fold in the herbs. Allow this to set hard in a small container then cut into cubes.

Place the fish stock and white wine in a small saucepan and reduce to about 20%. At this point start to whisk in the butter until all of it has been incorporated into the stock creating a butter sauce, add the shrimps, herbs and cucumber and set aside.

For the fish:

Firstly, preheat an oven to about 110oc.

Trim the monkfish using a sharp knife or a pair of scissors and season with a little salt, place the fish into a hot pan and allow to cook until one side is lightly golden. Add a small knob of butter to the pan then using a spoon, turn the fish and baste off the heat with the foaming butter. Once the fish has a nice golden colour, transfer to a tray and set aside.

For the greens:

Pick the peas and beans out of their shells then cook in boiling salted water for approximately 1 minute. Cool under running cold water or in a little ice, the skins or husks can now be easily removed.

To cook the lettuce, first wash it then remove the outer leaves and cut in half, or quarter depending on size. Place in a saucepan with a little butter and gently poach along with the peas and broad beans.

To assemble the dish:

Place the basted fish in the oven for around 5-6 minutes until cooked, it should feel just firm then allow to rest.

While the fish is resting, heat up the sauce and place a couple of spoonsful into the bottom of a bowl followed by a spoonful of the peas, beans and samphire. I like to drape the wilted lettuce to the side of this. At this point the fish should have rested and will be ready to carve into nice slices, each of which can be laid across the top of the sauce and greens and garnished with a few final herbs.

Wine Recommendation
Bricco dei Guazzi Gavi Di Gavi DOCG

Gavi is considered Piedmont's white jewel in the crown and Italy's first white wine to gain international reputation. 

Made with 100% estate-owned Cortese grapes, this Gavi is a wine that reflects its terroir with a crisp, flinty and fresh acidity, coming from the mineral-rich soils of the area. 

Cortese grapes come from a native vine that boasts very ancient origins and it's widespread throughout the Alessandrino area. Known for its easy drinkability and for its immediate pleasantness, it gives rise to wines that are clean, fresh and vital. In the Municipality of Gavi, where this wine gets its name, this production is protected by the DOCG label which guarantees the product's high quality. 

Pale yellow in colour, this Gavi offers intense floral notes on the nose with hints of melon and citrus. It is a well-balanced wine, distinctly fruit driven with underlying hints of almonds on the finish. To the palate it is elegant, very fresh and tasty, balancing the variety's typical acidity with a 'gentle' profile with good drinkability. 

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