Sunday, 22 May 2011

Lotte a l'Americaine

Another of my dad's signature dishes, and often wildly overcomplicated in Internet versions, this recipe is an absolute delight in the summer. It's very much a treat - tonight because I will be departing for Croatia tomorrow for a conference. Monkfish are also sadly, not really in season; I should wait until late summer but the last tail at the fishmonger looked so tempting! I skip the traditional fried bread tonight, as the hot weather has dimmed my appetite, and instead knock back a few glasses of home-made elderflower cordial.


  • 400g tail of monkfish - or enough for two
  • plain flour
  • a large clove of garlic
  • 4 ripe, red tomatoes
  • a large shot of brandy

Remove the bone and any remaining skin and scales from the monkfish, wash and pat dry. Slice into bite-size pieces, erring on the side of large rather than small. Toss in a small dish with a few tbsp of plain flour and some salt and pepper. Heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan to almost-smoking hot, and add the monkfish pieces. Fry (in batches if you have to) for a couple of minutes each side until golden, but not necessarily cooked through. Remove to a plate.

Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes into small pieces, and when the monkfish are done, scrape them from the board into the pan, and then crush in the garlic. Deglaze the pan using the tomato juices, and simmer for 7-8 minutes, until the tomatoes are softened but not totally dissolved, and the sauce has thickened. Return the monkfish to the pan, pour over the brandy, give it a few seconds to warm up and begin to evaporate, and then set fire to it. Enjoy the flames, then serve immediately :)

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