Friday, 21 September 2012

Cooking with Olives I: Monkfish with Saffron and Olive Sauce on Cous Cous

Monkfish with Saffron and Olive Sauce on Cous Cous

This is the first of my two recipes using black olives. I basically wanted to combine black olives with fish, because I think that neutral, meaty fish like monkfish is complimented so well by that salty, anise-like taste of the black olives. I also like to cook down the sauce until it's a thick paste, almost East African style so that the paprika, coarse garlic and saffron retain their characteristic fiery intensity.

This recipe was created using black olives from Fragata, which they kindly provided for me along with some other great ingredients. Fragata are currently running a promotion in order to win a chance to cook with the one and only Jose Pizarro! If you're interested in entering the competition, please click here.

Here goes:


125 ml Fish Stock
3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Onion, Finely Chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, Crushed, skin removed and very roughly chopped

Salt to taste
1/2 Tablespoon Paprika
Pinch of Saffron
1/4 Tin Black Olives, Sliced
2 Monkfish Tails
250g Cous Cous
320 mL vegetable stock
Handful of Coriander Leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to serve


Make up the fish stock and bring to a simmer.

Whilst the stock is coming up to the simmer, add 2 mL of olive oil to a heavy-based casserole pan. When hot, fry the onions on medium heat for roughly 5 minutes. They should start to turn translucent, but not gold.

Add the garlic in and fry for another 2 minutes until the garlic starts to colour a bit.

Add the tomato passata and cook out until the mixture becomes a thick puree. At this point, I add salt (not too much as the stock will provide some saltiness too) and the paprika.

Add the fish stock and the saffron threads. Bring to the simmer and reduce to the desired thickness. I like it quite dry so that the intense flavours really come through. Add the black olives and stir through.


At this stage, start on the fish. Season the fish on one side, and oil the frying pan with some olive oil and get it up to a high heat. Place the fish seasoned side down, and wait until the fish becomes translucent two thirds of the way up (checking that the fish is caramelised on the cooked surface but not too brown). Season the other side at this point. It's also important with a monkfish tail that the entire tail comes into contact with the pan and that it doesn't curl up.

Turn over the fish and finish cooking until both sides are a lightly caramelised, golden brown and the fish is well cooked through. Slice the fish into bitesized pieces.

Cous Cous and Assemble

Make up the cous cous. I use instant cous cous, for which you basically add 250g of cous cous (for 2 to 3 people) to a medium saucepan and cover with 320 mL of vegetable stock (check the instructions on the packet though). I then leave it until all the stock has been absorbed. You can then finish it by fluffing it slightly with a fork (a classic trick from my mum there!).

Assemble the dish. Put the cous cous as a base in a food mould. Remove the mould very carefully. Reuse the mould to add the sauce on top. Place the fish slices on the very top.

Tear some coriander and place the leaves in between the pieces of fish, sashimi style!

Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil around the cous cous.


1 comment:

  1. Great post, you have pointed out some excellent points, I as well believe this is a very superb post. Please keep up the effective work.


Well, what you think?.......