To celebrate the final episode of Neven's Irish Food Trails on RTÉ One tonight at 7:30 pm, we're making Neven's Mediterranean monkfish and potato stew with an almond crumb.
This is an excellent fail-safe recipe that I often find myself cooking at home. The almond crumb makes it into something just a bit more glamorous. Of course, you could use any fish you like and add some shellfish too if you feel like pushing the boat out.
- 25g (1oz) blanched almonds
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 red onions, finely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- ½–1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- a good pinch of saffron strands soaked in a little hot water
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 x 400g (14oz) tins of whole plum tomatoes
- 300ml (½ pint) fish or chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- 450g (1lb) small new potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered if large
- 675g (1½lb) boneless monkfish, skinned with all tough membrane removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).
- To make the almond crumb, spread the almonds out on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 5 minutes, until they are golden.
- Allow to cool, then roughly chop until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Place in a bowl and mix with the paprika and 1 teaspoon of salt. Set aside until needed.
- Put a large casserole with a lid over a high heat on the hob and add the olive oil. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions and fennel.
- Stir in the fennel seeds, chilli flakes, and saffron and sauté for 10 minutes, then stir in the garlic and sauté for another couple of minutes.
- Add the tomatoes to the onion mixture, crushing them with a wooden spoon, then pour in the stock and add the potatoes.
- Season to taste and simmer for 25–30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.
- Add the monkfish to the potato stew and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through and looks opaque.
- Divide among hot bowls and sprinkle over the almond crumb, then scatter over the parsley to serve.