Grilling without a grill. How can that be possible?
It’s simple, because everyone loves the flavor of grilled foods, but we don’t all have the luxury of a back courtyard or a porch, a front garden or even a side alleyway where a grill can sit year-round. So, the following recipe for Bay Grilled Monkfish is for grilling without a grill. For those of you who don’t have the luxury of space, but still want the flavor of home-grilled food try this, and you’ll get that wonderful sweet and smoky flavor without a grill.
This specific recipe centers around monkfish (Lophius piscatorius), what the French call lotte, or baudroie. It’s in season now, displayed with pride by fish mongers throughout the land. I had it recently at Table restaurant in Paris, where magician and chef Bruno Verjus prepared it on the stove – I watched him, I swear I did. But when I tasted it I closed my eyes and thought I’d been transported to a place with an outdoor grill burning the finest, most fragrant wood. His secret? Seared fresh bay leaves.
HAVE YOU EVER ATTENDED A COOKING CLASS? WE’D LOVE TO SEE YOU AT A CLASS AT ON RUE TATIN IN LOUVIERS BUT IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT TO FRANCE, JOIN US AT ONE OF OUR CLASSES IN THE U.S. THIS FALL WE’LL BE IN ASHEVILLE AND LOS ANGELES
Flames will Leap; Smoke will Fly
I recommend this method, which is very easy. It’s also a little intimidating because when you get the oil hot and shake the pan with the bay leaves and fish in it, the leaves will catch fire and flames will leap. Don’t worry, keep shaking the pan and the flames will die down, then reignite, then die down again. Just put yourself in the persona of a famous French chef; they love to light things on fire, it’s called “flambé” and it’s been done since the beginning of time.
Get your hands on some fresh bay leaves, (Laurus nobilis), though you can use dry bay leaves, but their flavor won’t be quite as aromatic, so I recommend using about 10 of them. FYI – bay leaves grow in most climates. If you have a cold winter, the plant will need to come inside then. Otherwise, you cannot kill a bay bush/tree with a stick.
In any case, try this recipe for grilling without a grill. And once you’ve done monkfish this way you can try chicken breast, pork or lamb chops…your imagination is the limit.
*I sent this recipe to a friend to test in the U.S. and his comments were terrific. Among them “This is messy.” It is kind of messy, but lots of things are messier (he agreed!). Still, the oil spatters a bit, leaving tiny dots on your stove top. You know the secret to cleaning up oil in the kitchen, though, correct? It’s white vinegar. Use it instead of water, and your stove will never have looked so good.