Smart-Arse Monkfish, Artichoke hearts, sun-blushed tomatoes and Couscous

Spiced Monkfish
Spiced Monkfish with Artichoke, blused tomatoes and Couscous ©rory kelly

“Good looking Monk Tom , where’s it from”

“The sea Rory, you hung over again”?

“Smart arse”

“It might very well have been Rory – but without its academic history I’ll never know”

Tom’s left hook landed square on my jaw preceded by his deft feint – I hit the canvas…..then reached for my wallet to buy the beautiful beast sitting on flaked ice in the Monger’s window. Our ritual verbal sparring finished before it really got a chance to get going this particular Saturday morning, our bouts can usually go 3-4 rounds easily….hungover or not. The audience was understandably aggrieved at the speed the joust finished but in truth she was more interested in securing Herring fillets and wheeling herself to a 10 O’Clock Blue rinse.

Fishmongers are a funny breed – they aren’t fishermen and they aren’t cooks they’re middle men, Del- Boys, Sales Sharks….some of them don’t even like fish…but they are characters and they are to be cherished, loved and thoroughly not trusted. You can haggle with a Fish Monger where as a Butcher will let you feel his blade over a drop in price.  If you have ever been to Billingsgate Market in London at 4am you’ll understand what I mean!

Monkfish is a blank but very tasty canvas so I like to challenge these big bad-assed fish with monster flavours- Salmon is the same this recipe is the gauntlet hitting my kitchen floor to Tom and his possibly smart arsed fish. The Monk is bathed in an aromatic spice paste – typical Middle Eastern –  and served with a Turmeric Cous Cous, tart sun-blushed cherry tomatoes and creamy Artichoke hearts.

Please stop wrapping it in Parma ham it insults both Pig and Fish!

WHAT YOU NEED: serves 2

1/2 a fat Monk fish tail – boned

1 tps Sweet Paprika

1 tps All-Spice

1/2 tps Cumin powder

2-3 tps Rapeseed oil

1 tps salt flakes

1 tps cracked black pepper

1/2 tps Cayenne pepper

120 grams of couscous

1 tps Turmeric

100mls chicken stock

handful sunblushed cherry tomatoes

3-4 Artichoke hearts sliced (I used deli-bought)

Fresh Coriander roughly chopped

Fresh Greek Yogurt


Step 1: Make the paste for the Monkfish by combining the Paprika, All Spice, Cumin, Salt, Peppers and oil – it should be a deep dark red and…well…pasty.

Step 2: Sling the Monkfish into an iron pan (or oven proof dish) then straight into a pre-heated oven at 180 – there’s about 10-12 minutes cooking here but time will vary depending on the size of the fish.

Step 3: As the Monk  roasts add the Cous Cous to a bowl and pour over the hot stock tehn cover with a plate and leave to steam

Step 4: about 10 minutes into the roasting of the Monk stick a metal skewer into the centre of the fish, hold for 3 seconds and then touch it to your top lip – if it warm its done.

Step 5: At this point add the Sun-blushed tomatoes and Artichoke hearts to the pan and allow to warm through in teh Monkfish juices

Step 6: Bring things together: fluff the couscous gently with a fork and mix in the turmeric then add this to the Monkfish, Tomatoes and Artichoke in the pan, Finish with a flurry of chopped coriander and a splash of the Yogurt.













12 thoughts on “Smart-Arse Monkfish, Artichoke hearts, sun-blushed tomatoes and Couscous

      1. I think its a bit funky Donna and I’m not convinced the people ‘judging’ are nessesscarily qualified to do so! I train people in blogging and content creation for a living so it think Ashville Media threw some darts at the wall here…but of course I ain’t bitter either 😉

    1. Well, that’s a skill all in itself Kat – using the lip technique is only validation of your own ability to know timings and heat – fish should really only be warm in the centre and opaque in colour..JUST cooked and no more so its pretty impossible to get burned doing this.

      I use a Thermometer but usually only on big-assed pieces of rib-on beef joints that need to be perfectly ‘blushing’. Take it from me – if you burn your lip on this skewer technique when cooking fish you’ve cooked the living hell out of it!

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