Pastilla of monkfish with apple puree

11 September 2006
Pastilla of monkfish with apple puree

(Serves four)

150g monkfish tail, cleaned
10g saffron powder
Salt and pepper
40ml olive oil
100g onion, finely sliced
15g cinnamon stick
40g fresh ginger, chopped
20g coriander
150ml cold water
2 eggs
50g butter
Icing sugar
200g white cabbage leaves
Lemon juice
50g blanched almonds, roasted/ground
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
Cinnamon powder

Method Season monkfish tail with saffron, salt and pepper. In a casserole big enough for the tail, but not much bigger, heat half the olive oil. Seal monkfish until golden brown. Add onions, cinnamon stick, fresh ginger and fresh coriander (reserving about 20 leaves). Cover with a lid and reduce the heat. Cook until onion is soft, then add 150ml cold water, bring to boil and simmer. Cover again.

After about 15 minutes (depending on the width of the fish) remove the monkfish.
Re-cover and continue cooking onions for another 15 minutes. Strain juice from onion mixture. Remove coriander, ginger and cinnamon from onion mixture and discard. Keep beside the monkfish tail.

Beat the two eggs, season with salt and pepper. Chop reserved 20 leaves of coriander. Add to eggs. Return cooking juice to stove, reduce until it is a thick syrup, and pour on to the egg mixture.

In a non-stick pan, heat half the butter, cook egg mixture in "scrambled eggs" manner. While the "scrambled egg" mixture is still very softly cooked, remove from heat and tip immediately on to a cold plate to stop cooking process. Keep next to the monkfish.

Heat remaining olive oil and colour the blanched almonds, tossing regularly. When coloured all over, add a spoonful of icing sugar and allow to coat all the nuts. Remove heat and grind in a blender (but not to a powder). Leave next to the monkfish.

In a pan of boiling water, cook cabbage leaves, with some salt, until soft. Drain cabbage and refresh. Drain again and lay out leaves on a clean cloth. Place another clean cloth on top and lightly flatten the cabbage leaves with a rolling pin.

To assemble: Line four stainless steel rings (about 6cm in diameter and 2cm height) with a flattened cabbage leaf, allowing plenty to fall over the sides. Place a teaspoon of egg in each cabbage leaf, then half a teaspoon of onion mixture, a good slice of monkfish, a few drops of lemon juice and a sprinkling of the roasted/ground almonds. Continue layering, beginning with egg, until moulds are full. Seal moulds with remaining bits of draped cabbage. Lightly press with a glass so that each "pastilla" is compact. Set aside.

For apple purée: Place apple in a small pan, season with a little salt and pepper, add a little water. Cook slowly on low heat, until apple is soft. Blend. Pass through a strainer. Heat remaining butter in a frying pan, add "pastilla" and colour both sides, place pan in oven (180°C) and cook for about nine minutes. Check by inserting a knife into "pastilla" and putting the knife on to you lip. It should be hot.

Plate: On four separate plates, distribute apple purée. Sprinkle icing sugar and cinnamon on top of each "pastilla" and place on to the apple. Serve.

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