This recipe for bay-grilled monkfish involves fire and smoke, yet it’s done on your stove and it will not make your smoke detector whine (at least it didn’t mine). It’s an indoor grilling recipe, but your guests will be convinced that you somehow hung from the balcony with a grill and produced this amazing fish. I include it here precisely for those of you who have neither garden nor balcony but love the smoky grilled taste of foods. Try this, and your “grill envy” will disappear.
ASTUCE: monkfish has an outer and an inner skin. Usually the fish monger trims away the grey outer skin, but not always the inner skin which is very fine, almost more of a membrane. If this is still on the fish, simply trim it away, using a very sharp, preferably flexible bladed like a fish fillet knife, otherwise the membrane will shrink during cooking and your fish will be pulled every which way, into unrecognizable shapes. When searing the bay leaves, do take care that there is nothing flammable near your stove, that your hair is tied back and that you stand a good length away from the pan, tending to things in it with a pair of tongs, preferably extra-long. You may also want to put on a fan above the stove if you’ve got one. Once the fish is cooked, remember to let it sit for at least 5 minutes once you’ve taken it from the pan, to allow it’s juices to emerge. Lift it from the plate with a perforated spatula when you serve it, to leave the juices behind.
Special Equipment: Lightweight (such as a non-stick) skillet, tongs, perforated spatula for lifting fish from one plate to another, one plate or platter to receive the fish from the pan, which you won’t use for serving the fish.
1-1/2pounds (750g)monkfish filletswithout the central bone, inner skin trimmed away
Trim the membrane from the monkfish if necessary. Rinse and pat it dry, and refrigerate.
Place 1 tablespoon of each of the oils in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place one bay leaf in the pan and when it begins to sizzle, add the branch or remaining bay leaves to the pan and cook them until they begin to blacken and smoke, which will take 3 to 4 minutes.
Using the tongs, place the monkfish in the pan, gently nudging the bay leaves to the side. Shake the pan so that the bay leaves catch fire. Continue to shake the pan gently, and turn the fish, as the bay leaves go out and re-light, for about 2 minutes, then place a lid on the pan and remove it from the heat. Let it sit without looking at it for 8 minutes. If the monkfish isn’t cooked after 8 minutes, let it cook for an additional 2 minutes, then transfer it to a plate, season it with salt and pepper, and let it sit for 5 minutes. The monkfish will be golden on one side.
To serve, using a perforated spatula or the tongs, transfer each piece of monkfish, golden side up, to the center of each of six warmed plates. Garnish with the additional bay leaves or herbs.