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Pan-fried Monkfish with Mussels and a Grain Mustard Tarragon Sauce

Serves 4


For the Monkfish:

1 tbsp curry powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

600g monkfish tail, cut into 12 medallions

Olive oil

60g unsalted butter

Juice of one lemon

For the Mussels:

40g shallots, chopped, 1 bay leaf

a sprig of fresh thyme

50ml white wine

400g mussels, washed and cleaned

A pinch of saffron

25ml double or whipping cream

500ml fish stock

1 tsp grain mustard

Chopped fresh tarragon


Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C.

For the fish: mix the curry powder and 1 teaspoon of salt together. Season the fish with the curry salt and a good twist of black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick ovenproof frying pan, then add the fish and 20g of butter. Cook over a medium heat until the fish is golden brown, then turn it over and put the pan into the oven for approximately 3 minutes. Remove, squeeze over the lemon juice and set aside to rest.

For the mussels: wash and clean the mussels. Melt 20g of butter in a large saucepan, then add the shallots and cook out until they are soft and transparent. Add the bay leaf, thyme and tarragon followed by the white wine and bring to the boil, then add the cleaned mussels and cover with a lid. Once the mussels have opened, pour them into a colander over a bowl and leave to drain (discard any mussels that have not opened). Pour the cooking liquid back into the saucepan, add a pinch of saffron strands, the cream and the fish stock.

Bring to the boil, then whisk in the remaining butter and simmer until reduced to a creamy consistency. Add a teaspoon of grain mustard, season with salt and pepper and finish with chopped tarragon.

To serve, briefly reheat the monkfish in the oven for a few minutes, then remove and transfer to your serving plates. Pour the cooked mussels over the top (in or out of the shell, as you wish) and spoon over the sauce.

Recipes from Michael Caines, whose Cornish waterside restaurants The Harbourside Refuge, Porthleven, and The Cove Restaurant and Bar, Maenporth, bring an oasis of taste and visual shoreline beauty.

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