From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
4 monkfish fillets (200g each, trimmed and cut into medallions)
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tblsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp softened butter
900 g fresh spinach
25 g butter
1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
25 g butter
200 g fennel bulb, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp mild curry powder
pinch saffron threads
300 ml vegetable stock
800 g mussels
250 ml cream
1 tblsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
Season each monkfish medallion with salt and black pepper. Heat a frying pan. Add the oil and butter. Add the monkfish and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes on each side. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, prepare the spinach, wash and remove any large stalks, then dry well – a salad spinner works brilliantly if you have one. Heat a large heavy-based pan and add fistfuls of the spinach, adding another as one wilts down. Cook for 1 minute, then tip into a colander and gently press out all the excess moisture.
Melt the butter in the pan and sauté the garlic for 30 seconds, if using, then add the drained spinach, season to taste and add a little nutmeg. Toss until heated through.
Melt the butter in a pan. Add the fennel and onion. Sauté gently until vegetables are soft but not brown. Add curry powder, saffron and vegetable stock. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 12 minutes.
Clean the mussels thoroughly and then add the mussels to the pan. Cover with a lid and simmer for 4-5 minutes until all the mussels have opened. Discard any that do not. Stir in the cream and parsley, then remove the mussels from pan into a colander.
Take the mussel meat out of the shells, discarding the shells. Season to cooking liqueur and then blitz with a hand blender until frothy. Fold in the cooked mussels and allow to just warm through.
To serve, spoon wilted spinach onto centre of warmed serving plates and arrange the monkfish medallions on top. Spoon over the curried mussel foam and garnish with the coriander to serve.