Sunday, 22 August 2010

Magnificent Roasted Monkfish (not Monkfish) and a Small Forage

Last week, after buying some proscuitto crudo from a Farmers' Market (not sure what Farmers' Markets actually are anymore, as I also bought some soap....), I was wondering what to make. We could have just eaten it on its own in an antipasti mix type thing, but it didn't seem that long ago since we did that, so I thought of an excellent Jamie Oliver recipe that I had tried quite a few times before.
Basically it is Monkfish wrapped in Parma Ham which has been spread with a paste of sun-dried tomatoes and basil.

Jamie Oliver's Magnificent Roasted Monkfish

I wasn't going to buy Monkfish, because, quite frankly, even if Morrison's happened to have it in, I am too tight, and anyway, it wasn't technically Parma Ham I was using either.
I used some random fish (Coley I think), after asking the guy at Morrison's for a meaty fish that wouldn't flake too much. He suggested this which was more in my price range and he said it was quite meaty, like cod. I thought cod was flakey, but hey ho.

I knew the basics of the recipe as I have done it before - yes, with actual Monkfish and actual Parma Ham, but couldn't quite remember the quantities. I dug around among the thousands of cookbooks we have for all the Jamie books, then searched through each one to find the recipe.When I found it, I shouldn't have bothered. "Small jar of sun-dried tomatoes" and "2 large handfuls of basil". Well I knew that much. What is a small jar anyway? Sun-dried tomatoes seem to come in jars of one size. Is this small? Who's hands full of basil?

Anyway, I followed the recipe, sort of. And I have to say it really didn't turn out as elegant as the pictures in his book. I was making it for 2 rather than 4, so I used half of the standard sized jar of sun-dried tomatoes, and "some" basil. I knew the consistency I was looking for anyway. You whizz up the tomatoes and basil, with some of the oil from the tomato jar, and some balsalmic vinegar to make a paste. You then, rather messily, spread this all over the (not Parma) ham. Stick the fish on it, and roll it up. The fish turned out to be huge, so instead of the nice sized portion in the book, we ended up with a great slab of fish on the plate which was very tasty and also very filling.
Suppose it didn't help the portions, as I attempted a Dauphinoise Potatoes for the first time, which turned out to be quite rich. And didn't really match the fish. There was quite a bit of oil/juice from the fish, which didn't work with the cream. Both were nice, but not meant to be together I'd say.

Magnificent Roasted Monkfish (not Monkfish)

I had made an Apple and Blackberry crumble for dessert - again, a bit rich and heavy, but still lovely. It was my most recent attempt at using the gluten free flour which we'd bought for the purpose. I am not convinced that this flour will make decent pastry, even though there are pie recipes on the packet, but surely there can't be an issue with it making crumble.
There was, however, an issue. The batteries in the scales had gone, so quantities were estimated by eye. I think there may have been too much butter, but as I know, gluten free stuff tends to be very dry, so I added more to be safe.
Back to the actual fruit. The other week I had noticed that there were quite a few blackberry bushes (are they bushes?) nearby, and I thought it could be worth a forage. I'd gathered some really juicy, ripe berries a few days before, washed, and tried them. They were ideal. Stupidly, I hadn't gathered them on the crumble day, so when I came to use them, I found that the majority had started to decompose and were becoming one with each other. Again, thanks to Morrison's being 2 minutes away, we still had Apple and Blackberry crumble.

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

The crumble itself worked, although not sure if it would have tasted the same, or had the same texture if I was able to weigh out the recommended quantities. The only thing about it, in this instance, the gluten free flour still had the familiar slightly odd taste and texture to it. But it wasn't that off-putting.

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