Cooking Experiences

Monkfish, clams and Mussels ragouting it up!

I seem to be on a one man mission at the moment to plug the amazing cooking maestro known as Daniel Galmiche but heaven knows that I simply cannot put down his ‘French Brasserie Cookbook’! It is such a pleasure to work from and really gives you an idea of how these amazing French dishes can be created without feeling you have to go to a one or two michelin star restaurant on a daily basis!

My latest attempt was recommended by Daniel himself who suggested a few great ideas on Twitter for how to cook monkfish, which my wife had requested we should eat more often. With the dish not being the cheapest to cook it certainly won’t be one I do every day but now attempted I feel that it would be a great event dish for the whole family on a lovely lazy Sunday afternoon and it really can be a whole family affair, with everyone digging in together rather than something you need to plate up with great precision.

Enough posturing: on to the real cooking! While cleaning mussels was a frustrating way to start preparation it goes without saying that removing the beards, checking for ‘floaters’ and getting the barnacles off them really is a vital process to ensure that you will enjoy your dinner risk free. Drying the beautiful monkfish (bought from Leeds Market at a fantastic rate and very fresh) was a pleasure and left me in a position to be able to pop the tails in a heavy based pan with foaming butter and olive oil. I lightly browned them and then popped the fish in the oven for 10 minutes until they came out beautifully roasted.

While the roast is happening you are able to clean your pan (I didn’t in order to see if it brought more flavour to the party) and pop in a chopped shallot, cockles and the cleaned mussels and just a tiny pinch of saffron for colour and flavour, covering the pan and just waiting a few short minutes before seeing the beautiful open shellfish starting to take on the flavours and aromas. Discarding the unopened shellfish (and for me there was very little waste) you can then pour in some cream, cooking for a few minutes on a high heat. This for me really was when you started to see the dish taking shape and see the cream taking on the saffron colour and flavour (and a real mid creation taste sensation as well!).

Whipping cream by hand has always been something I have enjoyed and this was again a nice rewarding part of the cooking process, however, in this instance I managed to over whip the cream horribly and this helped me in my great effort to split the cream sauce (along with too high a heat in the pan)! Even a split sauce, though, once chives, salt and pepper and lime zest were added, made for a fantastic dish, especially with some wild rice on the side.

As you can see from the pictures it is a homely dish and we really enjoyed eating it and will continue to enjoy the fine recipes from Mr Galmiche! For now if you can help me to rescue a dish where the sauce has split please do comment and let me know!

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rag1max1rag2rag3

Bon Appetite!

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