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.

Ingredients

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.

Serves: 4

  • 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

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. Add the tomatoes to the onion mixture, crushing them with a wooden spoon, then pour in the stock and add the potatoes.
  7. Season to taste and simmer for 25–30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.
  8. Add the monkfish to the potato stew and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through and looks opaque. 
  9. Divide among hot bowls and sprinkle over the almond crumb, then scatter over the parsley to serve.