Sunday, April 4, 2010

more moro monkfish and some theatre

WheelerandCompany attended a performance last night for the opening show in a new art space called Art Laundrette. Curated by Barbora Svecova, 32 for Alzbeta was a powerful, moving performance, carefully articulated to portray a celebration of the life and the death of one beautiful life, cut short.

For our pre-theatre meal, I cooked another wonderful dish from moro...monkfish rice with saffron. My friend Ruth made this for me on Thursday evening and it was truely wonderful. I think that I am borderline obsessed by the Clarke's wealth of delicious and passionate recipes all in one book ... as a result, this will not be the last time you will see or hear of my moro-recipe attempts - I have a date in their restaurant in Exmouth Market in 13 days time. I am wildly excited and am anticipating a moro-fest of cooking on my return.
For this dish I did not follow their recipe exactly as I did not have Spanish paella rice (calasparra - I used arborio) or a good quality fish stock to hand (I used cubes). They were fine but a better quality home-made version would add another subtle layer of flavour. I also left out the piquillo peppers as I did not have any and did not try to substitute them with anything else. In essence I probably ruined the true moro dish, but it tasted amazing all the same.
I made this for 2 people, but we had enough for 3 - you will need:

3 tablespoons of olive oil
250g monk fish fillets, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
1 large Spanish (white) onions, finely chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
800mls fish stock
1 teaspoon saffron seeds, crushed with the back of a teaspoon
200g arborio rice
1 glass white wine or fino sherry
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped roughly
1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
110g piquillo peppers, torn in strips
1 lemon, in wedges
sea salt and black pepper.

First prepare the monk fish. In a non-stick pan gently stir-fry the monk fish pieces in a little oil until it is slightly undercooked.
Pour the monk fish and all of the juices into a large bowl and set aside. Lovely fishy juices will seep out so keep these for addition to the rice later.

Wipe the pan clean and add the remaining olive oil.
Fry the onions and peppers for 15-20 minutes, stirring intermittently.
Turn down the heat and add the garlic and fennel seeds. Cook for another 10 minutes.
Bring the stock to the boil and add the saffron and let it infuse for 10 mins on the heat.
Add the rice to the pan of vegetables and stir for about 1 minute to ensure the rice is fully coated in the vegetables and oil.
Turn up the heat and add the white wine/sherry first and then all of the hot stock at once.
Add half the chopped parsley and the smoked paprika and a little salt and pepper to taste.
Do not stir the rice after this as according to moro it 'affects the channels of stock' ( I know so little I am not worthy!). Anyway they claim it helps to cook the rice evenly and who am I to argue?
So simmer for 10 minutes until there is just a little liquid above the level of the rice.

Add the monk fish and its juices which will have seeped out into the bowl. Push each bite down into the rice under the stock. Shake the pan slightly to ensure the rice does not stick.
Cook for about 5 minutes or until there is just a little liquid left.

Turn off the pan and cover tightly with foil and let it sit for 3-5 minutes before serving.
Decorate with the rest of the parsley and the lemon wedges.
Moro recommends a salad as accompaniment, but we ate it on its own. Delicious.

As I mentioned above, there were left-overs.
This made a delicious Sunday evening supper - the remainder of the rice, heated and stuffed into a wholemeal pitta pocket with cornichons...really really tasty.

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