Tuesday, June 26, 2012

30 Minute Meal

Thursday is fish day at our house - that's when my fishmonger (that's him) comes to our local market. Home cooks tend to see fish as a major production - something best ordered in a restaurant - but if I were to write one of those "30-Minute Meal" cookbooks, there would probably be more fish recipes than anything else.

Here's a quickie one-pan dinner using the the emerging summer flavors of Provence. The tomatoes are just arriving, and peas, well - I can't get enough of Provencal peas. My herb garden is in grand form at the moment - so I added the flowering portion of my lemon verbena plant, a bit of lemon basil and some lemon thyme. I recently bought some dried Spanish Nora Peppers, very mild, a little smoky, like good paprika. I've been adding a pinch or two to my tomato bases. Gives it a subtle bass note.

Monkfish Fillets with Tomatoes and Fresh Peas

4 monkfish fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup white or rose wine
2 large pinches of dried Spanish Nora peppers or good paprika
1 tsp fresh lemon thyme (or the flowering portion of lemon verbana or lemon basil) -regular thyme + a bit of lemon zest would do
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fresh peas

Heat olive oil in a good size frying pan. Saute onion until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and sugar, simmer 5 minutes. Add wine, simmer 3 minutes more. Add Nora pepper or paprika, stir to combine. Add fish fillets and thyme. Cover and simmer on medium-low for 10-15 mintues, turning the fillets once midway through. Cooking time will depend on the size of your fillets - start checking early. Be gentle - monkish, when properly cooked, has a nice firm texture like lobster, you don't want to boil it to mush. 

When the monkfish looks nearly done, stir in the fresh peas and heat through - about 2 minutes. Serve with quinoa or crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

Serves 4


  1. That seems easy enough that even I could pull it off... now, if I could only find a charming fishmonger...

  2. Well your fish guy doesn't look as hot as Matt Dillon the boucher, but he's got a nice smile anyway. The recipe sounds great. Alas our summer tomatoes have not yet arrived here in Burgundy, with all the rain. Like the idea of the fresh peas, will give this a try when they do. Made Grandma Elsie's biscotti this week, I'm a fool for anything rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Ever so good!

  3. Just read about your blog on Lynn McBride's site and have subscribed to yours. Am looking forward to reading it regularly. I am a complete Francophile but have only been there4 times - boo hoo. Thanks.

  4. I just finished your book, "Lunch in Paris", and could not put it down! Love/identify the humor with your Mom! Please keep writing! I really enjoy the recipes!