This is a wonderful country French treatment of monkfish, perfectly at home in a bistro or at your house during an informal dinner party
1/3 pound thick sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
4 little red creamer potatoes, or new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 shallots, sliced thin
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves plus sprigs for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds fillet of monkfish tail, membranes removed and the fish cut into 4 thick serving pieces
2 tablespoons dry white wine
4 teaspoons butter at room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cook the bacon in a 10-inch heavy, ovenproof skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until the bacon begins to crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and reserve.
2. While the bacon is cooking, add the potatoes to boiling salted water, return to a boil, and boil for 4 minutes. Drain the potatoes completely in a colander.
3. Cook the shallots in the skillet with the bacon fat over moderate heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, 1 teaspoon of the thyme leaves, and salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Push the potato mixture to the side, and add the monkfish to the center of the skillet. Drizzle the white wine over the monkfish fillets. Roast the monkfish in the oven for 10 minutes, then place under a hot broiler until it is just cooked through and very browned on the outside.
4. When ready to serve, remove the monkfish from the skillet, place on a dish, and cover with aluminum foil. Place the skillet over moderately high heat, and add the reserved bacon pieces and the remaining 2 teaspoons of thyme leaves to the potatoes and shallots. Toss until the bacon is heated through.
5. Place each monkfish fillet on a dinner plate, reserving the juice that has collected around the fillets. Top each fillet with a teaspoon of butter. Surround the fillets decoratively with potato slices, leaving behind as much of the shallots and bacon as possible in the pan. Salt and pepper each fillet and the potato slices. Then top the monkfish fillets with the remaining shallots and bacon. Pour the collected monkfish juice over the fillets, and garnish each one with fresh thyme sprigs. Serve immediately.
One good way to solve the watery/curly problem is to roast whole chunks of monkfish at a high temperature, until they're browned on the outside. Use the thinnest part of the tail; this is the end of the tail where the bone is also thinnest. This section yields the most tender and delicate monkfish fillets -- perfect for roasting in whole chunks. This is a wonderful country French treatment of monkfish, perfectly at home in a bistro or at your house during an informal dinner party. Serves 4