Just remember that lentils like tomatoes and curry, monkish likes butter and garlic. The rest is just assembly.
Curried daal with pan roasted monkfish
For the lentils, start with pressure cooker garlic tomato sauce.
If you need a refresher, remember that its:
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 entire head of garlic, peeled
1 whole onion sliced thin
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
about 2 cups of water
Once that goes 20 min, depressurize, and puree it in a blender or use a blender stick.
In a new sauce pan
1 half onion, thinly sliced
1 lb of red lentils
1-2 tbsp of curry powder
water to cover by about a couple of inches. These things are real sponges and they’ll suck it up quickly.
salt to taste
bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Be really careful to not overcook it which is really easy to do.
If you can find this stuff, you’ll love it. It’s not much to look at, but you’ll get over it once you taste it.
1 large monkfish fillet will feed about 3-4 people. We cooked two of them for four and had a fair amount left over. The kids even ate it.
Strip as much of the membrane off of the tail as you can. You mostly want to avoid using a knife, but you may have to.
Coat with a little oil and salt.
Bring a cast iron skillet to high temperature with a butter/oil mixture, and just as it’s starting to smoke, drop the fish in.
From here, I add another tbsp or two of butter to the pan along with a 3-4 peeled garlic cloves.
Here’s a good trick to cooking fish: continuous basting. If you tilt the pan so that the butter/oil mixture runs down to an area of the pan that’s not directly over the flame, you’ll minimize burning the fat, maximize the browning, and you can put stuff like aromatics in there to flavor the oil. That’s one reason restaurant kitchens smell different from home kitchens, they’re frequently using oil + aromatics to sautee’. As you’re tilting the pan in one hand, use the other to scoop up the butter/oil and continuously pour it over the fish. If the fish still has the skin on it, put the skin side down first, then flip it when it releases. Baste that skin (especially on snapper or bass) and you’ll have something pretty amazing.
Rotate the fish regularly, and pull it off when it looks brown. Monkfish is pretty forgiving, and you can put it on a wire rack/sheet pan combo, then shoot it into a low oven to hold it. For the oven, I’ll typically turn it to 170, then turn it off. If you have a warming drawer, that will work too. If you’re measuring internal temperatures, you probably don’t want to go much above 130, so just watch it.
Once the fish rests, cut into medallions and serve. Remember that butter and garlic are it’s friend, much like lobster, if you want to sauce it with some combination of the two and garnish with greenery, that would be pretty great, too.