© David Loftus
grilled butterflied monkfish with a sweet runner bean stew
I absolutely love to cook runner beans this way. They take on fantastic fl avor and go so well, when eaten hot, with roasted fi sh or white meat. They're also really good served cold as an antipasto. Please give them a try. To fi nish off this dish I'm going to use a great fl avor enhancer called gremolata. The classic combination is garlic, lemon zest and fl at-leaf parsley, all chopped together really fi nely. It can be sprinkled over stews, broths, soups or pasta dishes at the last minute. It really brings a dish to life. You get the fragrance and sharpness of the lemon and the hum of the garlic.
Feed the runner beans through a bean cutter. If you don't have one, just run your peeler down each side of the bean to get rid of the stringy bits and then cut them into 1/2-inch pieces at an angle.
Your runner bean stew can be cooked in advance or started just before you cook the fish. Heat a large saucepan, big enough to hold all the ingredients, and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus the oil from the jar of anchovies. Chop 4 of the garlic cloves and fry them gently with the anchovies and dried chilli until it all goes soft and the anchovies break down into a mush. Pour in the crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce and add the beans and the rosemary sprigs. Season and bring to the boil. Place a lid on the pan and simmer gently for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the beans are nicely cooked. If the sauce gets a little dry, add a splash of water and give the beans a stir.
Lay the monkfi sh pieces on a chopping board and slice them horizontally almost in half, so they open out like a book. Try to get them so you have an even thickness on both sides. Score the fish lightly and put to one side. To make the gremolata, fi nely chop the remaining clove of garlic with a pinch of salt. Next, finely chop the parsley and finely grate the lemon zest. Mix these with the garlic, give it all one last chop and put aside to sprinkle over at the end.
Heat a very large griddle pan or frying pan (or use two smaller ones). Season the fi sh well with salt and pepper and rub lightly with olive oil. Cook the fish for 2 minutes each side or until just cooked through (dont be tempted to overcook it).
Take the beans off the heat, taste and season them once again if necessary. Remove the rosemary sprigs and squeeze in the juice from the lemon. Place a pile of beans on each plate and top with a piece of fish. Sprinkle over the basil leaves and gremolata. Or you could serve the whole lot on a big platter in the middle of the table family service style!
1 1/4 pounds runner
1 x 4-ounce jar of good anchovy fillets, in oil
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
24-ounce jar of tomato sauce or 2 x 14-ounce cans of tomatoes, crushed
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 x 7-ounce-thick pieces of monkfish, skinned and trimmed properly ask your fishmonger
a bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley
extra virgin olive oil
a small bunch of fresh green or purple basil, leaves picked