- 1-1/2 pounds (750g) monkfish fillets without the central bone, inner skin trimmed away
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoons to neutral oil such as grape seed or sunflower
- 1 small branch fresh bay leaves with about 6 leaves on it or 6 dried bay leaves, laurus nobilis
- Fleur de sel
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Additional fresh bay leaves or herbs (flat-leaf parsley leaves, tarragon leaves) for garnish
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.