It was my first stab at this wonderful, shockingly simple dish, and the recipe had been sitting on our bookshelf for over 15 years. It’s from ‘Italian Easy London River Cafe’ (page 131 in my copy), one of my favorite cookbooks. It also ended up looking far more interesting than the formula would have suggested (I almost passed it by for that reason: for being too basic). And it was incredibly delicious.
This is my slightly revised version of the text in the book:
- monkfish tail, also known as Lotte, Coda di rospo, or Teufelfisch (last night I had four 4-ounce pieces after cutting the largest of 3 in half) from American Seafood Company placed inside a roasting pan that had first been heated inside a 425º oven, olive oil drizzled on the surface and a number of small sections of a rosemary branch arranged on the bottom, the fish then covered with thin slices of lemon that had been cut from most of one fruit and seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, a finely chopped tiny Grenada seasoning pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, and a drizzle of olive oil, a Sicilian anchovy fillet (2 salted anchovies) arranged on each of the four, which were then seasoned themselves, the pan placed inside the oven until the fish was done, that is, until the juices were opaque [this time it took about 15 minutes, but it’s important to check (Note: an instant read thermometer would read 145º at the center, but using that gauge can be tricky)], the monkfish removed from the oven and arranged on two plates (no garnish this time, because it already looked exciting)
- nearly a pound of Yukon Gold potatoes from Gorzynski Farm, boiled, halved, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chipped bronze fennel
- a mix of fresh greens (green mustards from Norwich Meadows Farm, a small mix of several kinds of tender greens from Windfall Farms, a few leaves from a head of radicchio from Manhattan Fruit Exchange in the Chelsea Market, and a little arugula, also from Norwich Meadows) wilted inside a medium antique tin-lined copper pot in a little olive oil where a halved clove of garlic had first been heated until softened and fragrant
- the wine was a French (Bordeaux/Graves/Cérons) white, Chateau de Cerons Graves Blanc 2017, from Bottlerocket
- the music was Rossini’s 1823 opera, ‘Semiramide’, Mark Elder conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Opera Rara Chorus