Updated Monday, December 3rd, 2012
Total Time: 45
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Monkfish is called "the poor man's lobster," thanks to the firm, sweet flesh of its tail. (The head is large, toothy, and ugly, so you'll never see whole fish in the market.) The meat holds up well to this zingy, spicy sauce; for less heat, just omit the red-pepper flakes.
Put flour, salt, and pepper into a medium-size bowl. Toss fish cubes in flour mixture. Set aside.
Preheat a large (at least 14-inch) skillet over medium heat 3 minutes (this will help keep the fish from sticking to the pan). Add 3 tablespoons oil and heat 30 seconds; then add monkfish in a single layer, with space in between pieces. Cook fish, without moving, until crisp and golden brown on just one side, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off heat and carefully add port to pan. Use tongs or a slotted spatula to transfer monkfish to a plate.
Add 3 tablespoons oil to pan and set over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots. Cook until lightly golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, parsley, salt, oregano, and pepper flakes (if you like) and stir. Simmer 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add spaghetti. Cook according to instructions.
Gently place monkfish pieces, browned side down, into sauce and cook without stirring until fish is opaque and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. When spaghetti is cooked, use tongs to transfer it to the pan holding the sauce, along with 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Toss to coat. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
In this issue: Summer Off the Beaten Path
Comments maybe edited for length and clarity.
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